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NIH Plans $10M for Cellular Signatures Data Centers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health plans to commit around $10 million in 2014 to fund the creation of centers to support its program focused on cellular feature signatures that are created in a range of cell types in response to perturbing agents.

The perturbations NIH is interested in may include siRNAs, small bioactive molecules, environmental manipulations, and others, according to a new funding announcement.

These centers will investigate and generate data about these perturbations for NIH's Library of Integrated Network-Based Cellular Signatures (LINCS) program, which launched in 2010.

The aim of the LINCS program is to catalogue, analyze, and integrate molecular activity and cellular feature signatures that result from perturbations, to support high-throughput collection and integrative computational analyses of these signatures, and to make these data available to the research community.

NIH wants to establish three to five of these LINCS Data and Signature Generation Centers (DSGC), and plans to fund each of them with up to $1.7 million each year.

The data and knowledge generated about these signatures will help the broader biological research community associate disease states with molecular or cellular phenotypes caused by specific genetic variants. It also may help scientists study changes in function in specific gene networks, or understand the mechanism of action of known drugs.

The DSGCs will engage in large-scale data production efforts to enhance the existing LINCs resource, and they will use a wider range of cell types and assays than are currently used in the resource. The centers also will seek to improve multidimensional data integration, develop new technologies, and develop user interfaces to help typical biomedical scientists in their research on a broad range of disease biology and mechanisms, NIH said.