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NIH to Provide $4M for 4D Nucleome Imaging Technologies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health will award up to $4 million next year for efforts that will speed up the development and validation of imaging technologies for studying the mammalian genome at the single-cell level, NIH said yesterday.

The funding will support between six and 10 projects under the NIH Common Fund's 4D Nucleome initiative, a program created to advance tools to understand the three-dimensional organization of the cell nucleus in space and time. These tools would be used to investigate the role nuclear organization plays in gene expression and cellular function, and how changes in this organization are involved in normal development and in various diseases.

These 4D Nucleome Imaging Tools projects will pursue high-resolution, high-throughput, quantitative technologies for studying single cells.

For example, researchers may seek to develop high-content approaches using novel molecular imaging probes that can track multiple, defined DNA sequences simultaneously; highly quantitative imaging techniques that can inform predictive models of nuclear organization; hardware, probes, and software for imaging and visualizing chromatin structures and intra-chromatin interactions; methods for tracking the dynamics of regulatory complexes and their interaction with nuclear DNA; or approaches for tracking the establishment and maintenance of nuclear organization during the cell cycle or the transition to a different cell fate.

These technologies should be "robust, well validated, easily adoptable by the research community, and should have the potential to impact significantly the exploration of the 3D organization of mammalian genomes," NIH said.

Such tools are required for researchers to study how cells divide or respond to their environment, to identify the regulatory mechanisms that control development and are dysregulated in disease, and to examine phenotypic variations among human populations.