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NIDA to Fund Early-Stage Biochemists

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute on Drug Abuse has set aside $1.5 million to fund between six and eight proof-of-concept grants to young researchers who have not previously received National Institutes of Health funding and are studying chemistry that could be used in drug addiction research.

The grants are for up to $250,000 in direct costs over a two-year period and will be given to research chemists who seek to develop probes for use in basic research and to identify new or better templates as lead compounds for use in structure-activity relationship studies, including identification of potential new therapeutic chemicals.

Researchers who receive these early-stage grants may apply later for up to $250,000 per year over three years through a follow-up grant program.

NIDA wants researchers to study molecular, genetic, cellular, behavioral, and other mechanisms involved in drug abuse and addiction that may be of benefit in therapeutic approaches.

Studies that enhance knowledge of the chemistry of drug abuse can lead to new targets for interventions or new ways to treat toxic side-effects of drugs, and to new probes or technologies that has the potential to quickly advance the drug abuse research field, the institute said in an announcement of the grants.

Researchers can use the funds to develop biomarkers for diagnosis, prevention, and determination of the effectiveness of treatment using metabolomics, proteomics, and lipidomics technologies that are applied to research into drug abuse.

They also may aim to improve specific cell-based high-throughput assays for identifying new ligands for receptors, transporters, and enzymes.

Other research may use structural biology and biophysical studies, such as research into membrane-bound receptors and proteins, and biophysical methods that use nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, and cell or cellular materials to test and design novel ligands for target proteins, lipids, and other targets.