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NIH Aims to Pump $30M Into Roadmap Update in Effort to Evaluate New ‘Omics Disciplines

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The National Institutes of Health plans to pump $30 million into its Roadmap initiative in fiscal 2008 as part of an effort to advance and assess several new ‘omics areas, the institute said this week.
While the NIH has not asked for more money to fund the new programs, it said the Roadmap update was outlined in its 2008 budget, although it was not ready to list specific programs when the budget was drafted.
The NIH also has not determined how it plans to break down the $30 million for these projects, according to NIH public affairs specialist Joseph Balintfy.
New initiatives that will or could be conducted under the updated Roadmap involve metagenomics, epigenetics, protein capture, proteome tools, and phenotypic tools. Coordination groups will consider drafting new efforts in pharmacogenomics, bioinformatics, and regenerative medicine, Balintfy said in an e-mail to GenomeWeb Daily News.
The upcoming initiatives are the product of a call the NIH put out in 2006 for new ideas from intramural and extramural researchers, patient advocates, and the general public.
According to the Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives, which oversees the Roadmap, the update will include four Major Roadmap Initiatives, one pilot study, and three coordination groups.
Major new roadmap initiatives that have been approved for funding include a Human Microbiome Project to characterize microbial content in the human body; an epigenetics and epigenomics study that measures changes in gene expression and gene function; and a pilot study for a genetic connectivity map that could help demonstrate linkages between diseases, drug candidates, and genetic manipulation, according to the NIH.
This summer the NIH will consider funding studies of protein capture and proteomics tools that would try to make high-quality probes that are specific to those in humans and in some animal models.
The NIH will also review a proposal for a human phenotype initiative to develop tools and services that could be used to catalogue human phenotypes in relation to various complex diseases and disorders.
Balintfy also said that the NIH recently highlighted three areas “needing greater coordination across the NIH” that could see funds under the update, including pharmacogenomics, bioinformatics, and regenerative medicine.

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