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UT Houston Wins $30M for Genome-based Disease Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston will use nearly $30 million of the $49 million in funding it has received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for genomics research related to cardiovascular and other diseases, according to UTHSC.

Included in the stimulus funding is $26 million for a study at the Human Genetics Centers at both The University of Texas School of Public Health and the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine that will look for genetic factors associated with heart, lung, and blood diseases.

That study, led by UTHSC Professor Eric Boerwinkle, will use the Grand Opportunity grant to compare regions in the genomes of around 40,000 individuals to identify genetic variants affecting disease risk. Boerwinkle's team will include the Baylor College of Medicine's Human Genome Sequencing Center, which will conduct genome resequencing of healthy and diseased individuals who are members of five long-term population studies.

"The project will not only enhance our understanding of the genetic architecture of multiple conditions of public health importance, but it will also benefit the broad scientific community by making these sequence and clinical data available," Boerwinkle said in a statement.

Another $2.9 million NIH GO grant will fund a study of genes that cause susceptibility to gout. That resequencing project, which involves a collaboration between UTHSC researcher James Hixson and researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Institute for Molecular Medicine, will aim to identify gene variants that influence uric acid levels. The collaborators will target genes for resequencing in more than 1,000 subjects from an arthritis risk study.

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