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La Jolla Institute Wins $12.6M from NIH for San Diego's First RNAi Screening Center

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology has won a $12.6 million stimulus grant from NIH toward developing San Diego's first Center for RNAi screening, with the intent of hosting projects by researchers from throughout the region.

The center — one of five to be created nationally with NIH funding — will be housed at the La Jolla Institute's new Division of Signaling and Gene Expression. Mitchell Kronenberg, the institute's president and chief scientific officer, said in a statement that the center will be launched with four initial immunology-focused research projects examining how genes affect immune system function.

Kronenberg is co-lead investigator on the center grant along with Anjana Rao, whom the institute recruited from Harvard Medical School last year to lead the signaling and gene expression division. Three of the projects will be led by Kronenberg and Rao, along with scientists Sonia Sharma and Matthew Pipkin, who work with Rao.

The fourth project will be led by David Nemazee and Changchun Xiao, both from the Scripps Research Institute. Nemazee and Xiao will analyze how microRNAs regulate B lymphocytes, with an eye to better understanding diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis

According to the institute, the center will offer researchers help and advice about high-throughput screen design, tapping into Rao's expertise in the technology, in addition to molecular libraries and instrumentation.

"We recognize the power and groundbreaking capabilities of this technology and will use it to advance scientific knowledge toward new and more effective vaccines as well as potential new therapies for autoimmune diseases ranging from type 1 diabetes to rheumatoid arthritis," Kronenberg said in the statement.

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