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Bioinformatics Briefs: Mar 13, 2009

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GeneGo Licenses Entelos' Toxicogenomics Database

GeneGo said this week that it will use Entelos’ DrugMatrix toxicogenomic database of gene expression data to further develop its Functional Descriptor predictive toxicology models.

DrugMatrix offers GeneGo "a comprehensive, pharmacologically diverse and fully annotated compendium of gene expression data" that is "critical to developing high-performance predictive models," Richard Brennan, director of toxicology at GeneGo, said in a statement.

The database will allow the firm to apply lessons learned in the Microarray Quality Control Consortium to expand its collection of biological pathway-based classifiers with toxicity models for wide variety of adverse drug effects in key target tissues, he added.


NCI Providing $22.5M for Systems Bio Program

The National Cancer Institute will give $22.5 million a year to fund nine different cancer research centers that will serve as the core of its Integrative Cancer Biology Program.

These Centers for Cancer Systems Biology may receive up to $2 million per year in direct costs for up to five years to conduct interdisciplinary research that will couple systems biology with computational methods.

The CCSBs that are proposed for funding under the program must focus on three areas, including experimental systems biology, mathematical modeling and/or computer simulation focused on basic or translational research, and educational and outreach efforts that fit the center's goals.

The goal is to use these methods to conduct investigations into cancer biology, experimental therapeutics, early interventions, and cancer susceptibility. These centers also will develop an integrated educational and training program to enhance and further develop the field, and they will be tasked with working collaboratively with other NCI centers and programs. They will aim to develop "reliably predictive in silico or computational models of aspects of cancer initiation and progression" that could provide better understanding or help in managing the disease.

The specific research areas the CCSBs will target include gene expression including epigenetic, transcriptional, and translational control systems; metabolic networks and the control of the flux of substrates, intermediates, and products in cell physiology and cancer-related pathology; signaling networks and regulatory dynamics of cellular processes; cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions involved in tumor microenvironment; temporal processes, such as cancer initiation and progression; host systems, such as tumor immunology and drug processing; and other research areas.

More information about the Cancer Centers for Systems Biology program is available on NIH's funding announcement website.


NIH Opens Stream of Recovery Act Biomedical Infrastructure Funding

The National Institutes of Health has released a number of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding announcements, including requests for applications for the shared instruments and high-end instruments programs, and for projects to improve and renovate core labs and research labs.

NIH released notices for a flurry of programs containing $300 million for shared instruments purchases, $160 million for purchases of high-end research tools, $1 billion for renovating core facilities, and $1 billion for improving extramural research facilities.

The Core Facility Renovation, Repair, and Improvement Program will lay out the $1 billion it has to spend through grants ranging between $1 million and $10 million. These grants will be used to construct, renovate, or repair existing non-Federal research facilities. These activities may include purchasing general purpose equipment, alterations and renovation funds, or both. However, NIH noted that specialized equipment over $100,000 in cost cannot be requested as part of this FOA.

The total project period for an award made in response to this FOA may not exceed five years.

The Extramural Research Facilities Improvement Program will give between $2 million and $15 million for grants to expand, remodel, renovate, or alter biomedical or behavioral research facilities. They will support the costs of improving non-federal basic research, clinical research, and animal facilities in order to meet institutions' research needs.

The High-End Instrumentation Program will commit $160 million to fund roughly 40 awards for purchasing equipment for biomedical research that costs over $600,000. The maximum award will be $8 million. These instruments could include a wide variety of research tools, including but not limited to high-resolution mass spectrometers, supercomputers, structural and functional imaging systems, macromolecular NMR spectrometers, and other high-cost research instruments.

The Shared Instrumentation Grant Program will give awards to pay for tools that cost in a range of $100,000 to $500,000. These instruments could include but are not limited to mass spectrometers, supercomputers, NMR spectrometers, biomedical imagers, electron microscopes, and others.

The Scan

Should've Been Spotted Sooner

Scientists tell the Guardian that SARS-CoV-2 testing issues at a UK lab should have been noticed earlier.

For Martian Fuel

Researchers have outlined a plan to produce rocket fuel on Mars that uses a combination of sunlight, carbon dioxide, frozen water, cyanobacteria, and engineered E. coli, according to Gizmodo.

To Boost Rapid Testing

The Washington Post writes that new US programs aim to boost the availability of rapid at-home SARS-CoV-2 tests.

PNAS Papers on Strawberry Evolution, Cell Cycle Regulators, False-Positive Triplex Gene Editing

In PNAS this week: strawberry pan-genome, cell cycle-related roles for MDM2 and MDMX, and more.