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Funding Update: Dec 22, 2009

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NSF Microarray Grants Awarded Sept. 15 — Dec. 22, 2009

Multiscale genomic imaging informatics. Start date: Dec. 1, 2009. Expires: Nov. 30, 2010. Awarded amount to date: $173,226. Principal investigator: Yu-Ping Wang. Sponsor: University of Missouri-Kansas City

The investigators for this project aim to build an imaging database management and analysis system that can integrate multiscale and multimodality structural genomic information with microarray gene expression for the integrative analysis of biological systems. The project team will develop image processing and signal analysis algorithms to extract visual quantitative traits and structural genomic signatures from the results of high-resolution genomic imaging techniques such as fluorescence in situ hybridization imaging and microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization. These quantitative structural signatures "will then correlate with microarray gene expression patterns," according to the grant abstract. The researchers ultimately intend to make a publicly accessible genomic imaging database analysis system available to the life sciences community.


Ontogenic change in cnidarian-algal symbioses: A genomic and ecologic perspective. Start date: Jan. 1, 2010. Expires: Dec. 31, 2013. This grant was awarded to two investigative teams:

• Awarded amount to date: $725,625. Principal investigator: Mary Alice Coffroth. Sponsor: State University of New York at Buffalo

• Awarded amount to date: $257,525. Principal investigator: Monica Medina. Sponsor: University of California at Merced

The symbiosis between corals and photosynthetic dinoflagellate symbionts provides the foundation and structure of the coral reef ecosystem, as well as significant contributions to global carbon and biogeochemical cycles, according to the investigators of this project. The two research teams aim to identify the mechanisms and selective processes that lead to the final assemblage of symbionts harbored by adult hosts.

This question will be approached from two perspectives, ecologic and genomic, with the specific aims of determining if different Symbiodinium strains differentially affect fitness of corals as the adult settles into a mature symbiosis, if competition among symbionts or environmental conditions contribute to the final host-symbiont pairing, and how host-symbiont transcriptomes vary as the symbiont community within a host is winnowed to the final assemblage found in the adult host.

High-throughput, gene-expression profiling will be used to follow changes in gene expression between host and symbiont. The data will be used to validate or falsify the hypotheses that the final symbiont assemblage found in the adult host is determined by either host selection, competition among symbionts, or environmental condition. According to the grant abstracts, the investigators will use coral microarrays in this study as well as oligo arrays for two Symbiodinium species based on 454 EST data. The genomic tools used in the study will be made available to researchers via array distribution at cost, the investigators said.


Establishing a microarray teaching and learning center in the Shenandoah Valley in support of science education. Start date: March 1, 2010. Expires: Feb. 28, 2013. Awarded amount to date: $249,211. Principal investigator: Louise Temple. Sponsor: James Madison University

This grant will support James Madison University in establishing a regional microarray teaching and learning center to support curricular innovations at a consortium of regional colleges in the Shenandoah Valley. The equipment at the center includes a microarray reader and an inkjet oligoarray synthesizer and microarrayer that is being built and maintained by students in JMU's engineering program. Over 150 students per year in biology and bioinformatics courses at colleges in the region are using the equipment in inquiry-based, research-oriented classes, according to the investigators.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.