NEW YORK, Sept. 27 (GenomeWeb News) - TGen and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University have been awarded multimillion grants as members of a new multi-institute consortium funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to develop countermeasures to possible radioactive attacks on the US.
As part of the consortium, TGen will receive $3 million and the Biodesign Institute will receive $5.9 million, both over the next five years.
The consortium's goal is to develop novel and rapid methods to measure radiation exposure in people. According to TGen and the Biodesign Institute, this will include the development of minimally invasive biodosimetry devices and techniques; biomarker assays; automated biology-based high-throughput diagnostics; robotic methods to measure cellular and DNA damage; biochips for gene-expression levels; and signature identification of metabolites from bodily fluids.
Columbia University will serve as the lead institution for the project; other consortium members include the Harvard University School of Public Health, the National Cancer Institute, Sionex, and the City of New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
TGen's team will be led by Jeffrey Trent and Michael Bittner, who jointly researched biosignatures of radiation exposure while at the National Institutes of Health.
"TGen's focus on mathematical tools combined with ASU's sophisticated biocomputing platforms are a key component to the consortium's goal of developing diagnostic tests following a [hypothetical] potentially catastrophic radiological incident," Trent said in a statement. "The ability to rapidly analyze an individual's genetic signature of radiation exposure levels could be remarkably important in triaging patients."