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Wayne State Lands $3M in Stimulus Funds for ‘Omics Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Wayne State University has won around $3 million for genetics and genomics research support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the university said Friday.

WSU said that it has received a total of $11.2 million in ARRA grants from the National Institutes of Health to fund biological research programs in a variety of areas, as well as stimulus funding from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. All told, Wayne State said it has garnered 32 ARRA grants worth a total of nearly $18 million.

“These federal stimulus awards will allow our faculty to expand their research in many ways,” WSU’s VP for research, Hilary Ratner, said in a statement.

“It will provide them with the opportunity to grow their research labs by hiring additional research assistants, purchase new equipment to expand the technology currently available, as well as give more undergraduate and graduate students a chance to be a part of the world-class research programs that WSU is engaged in,” Ratner said.

Stimulus grants targeted for 'omics research include:

• $500,000 toward the purchase of an Applied Biosystems 4000 Qtrap hybrid tandem mass spectrometer for the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences;
• $878,000 for a professor in the Department of Neurology to conduct studies of activity-dependent gene expression in human epilepsy;
• $369,000 to the Department of Biochemistry to study the use of high-resolution melt analysis qPCR to help increase the accuracy and speed of diagnostic tests for fungal infections;
• $760,000 to the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics to define and characterize molecular mechanisms by which mutations in proteins cause neurodegenerative disease, such as ALS, Parkinson's, Huntington's, and Alzheimer’s diseases, and to identify drug agents that could be used to improve disease symptoms;
• $405,000 to the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology for genetic studies of eye development to understand the pathogenesis of myopia using mouse models; and
• $151,000 to the Department of Biological Sciences to study the genetics of leg variation in insects in order to understand the molecular processes involved in organ and tissue growth.