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Structural Genomics Consortia Land up to $52M from NIAID

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Two research consortia will receive as much as $52.4 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to continue studies using structural genomics to characterize the structures of proteins from a number of dangerous bacterial, protozoan, and viral pathogens.

The renewal funding to the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease (SSGCID) and the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases (CSGID) will support five more years of research efforts, and it will provide around $9.1 million in the first year of the grant's five-year period, the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute said on Monday.

The two multi-institute centers, which were launched with NIAID funding in 2007, will conduct research into around 40 pathogens, and already have conducted projects studying the plague, anthrax, cholera, influenza, tuberculosis, and amoebic dysentery, among others.

When they first received NIAID funding, the two centers each were tasked with solving 375 protein structures. They now have determined a total of 1,080 structures and have added 303 protein structures to the Protein Data Bank this year, Seattle Biomed said.

Over the coming five years, the SSGCID and the CSGID plan to determine the structures of an additional 800 proteins, which the research community will be able to use in efforts to develop new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines.

The Washington-area SSGCID is headed by Settle Biomed Professor Peter Myler, and includes collaborators at Emerald Bio, the University of Washington, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Battelle Memorial Institute).

The CSGID is led by Professor Wayne Anderson at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and includes eight other partners at the University of Chicago; University of Toronto; the University of Virginia; J. Craig Venter Institute; University College London; the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute; Washington University; and the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center.

"Knowledge of the protein structures will be enormously helpful in forming a scientific foundation for drug development, development of new diagnostic tools, and better understanding of how these infectious organisms attack their host and replicate," Myler said in a statement.

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