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NIH Funds Epigenomics of Disease Studies with $8M in '09

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health will invest a total of $8 million in fiscal 2009 to support researchers who are studying epigenetics and human disease, which is the fifth part of the Roadmap Epigenomics Program.
Under the “Epigenetics of Human Health and Disease” grants program, the NIH will support between 12 and 16 projects over a total of five years under the R01 mechanism. The goal of these studies is to “transform our understanding of the epigenetic contributions to human disease,” NIH said in the program announcement.
The research will characterize epigenome-wide features and their interactions in cells and tissues that represent human disease states, conditions, or processes.
“Unbiased epigenome-wide (global) mapping approaches must be used to identify marks in diseased, aged, or environmentally compromised human primary cells or tissues,” NIH said in the announcement.
The research should focus on human samples, but other mammalian animal models are allowed in rare exceptions.
Studies also could include follow-up epigenetic approaches that would reveal the function or significance of genomic regions that are identified through the mapping process.
Scientists should propose studies that focus on compromised, abnormal, or diseased states in humans. Examples of these areas could include perturbation caused by exposure to dietary, chemical, social, or behavioral factors, abnormal regulation of fundamental processes during critical stages of life, and dysregulation of processes such as inflammation, apoptosis, and oxidative stress.
Letters of intent for the grants are due Sept. 28, with anticipated start dates in July 2009.

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