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NSF Bioinformatics Grants Jan. 28 – March 3, 2006

Coding Theoretic Problems in Genetic Data Acquisition, Modeling and Analysis. Start date: Feb. 1, 2007. Expires: Jan. 31, 2009. Awarded amount to date: $151,070. Estimated total award amount: $399,688. Principal investigator: Olgica Milenkovic. Sponsor: University of Colorado at Boulder.
Supports the investigation of “three new coding-theoretic paradigms arising during the processes of genetic data acquisition, analysis, and modeling,” according to the grant abstract. Several classical coding schemes will be “generalized, combined, and optimized for a given application.” The research is expected to have “significant impact” on the development of cDNA and aptamer microarrays.

Multiscale Modeling of Nanoparticle-Cell Interactions. Start date: March 1, 2007.
Expires: Feb. 29, 2012. Awarded amount to date: $401,000. Estimated total award: $401,000. Principal investigator: Sulin Zhang. Sponsor: University of Arkansas.
Project aims to examine the nanoparticle-cell interaction mechanisms at the molecular level through a novel multiscale model that links atomistic simulations, meso-scale particle dynamics, continuum mechanics, and chemical kinetics. “Critical interrelationships between surface and physical properties of the nanoparticles (particle size, shape, topology, ligand-receptor binding affinity, etc.) and their cellular uptake rate and endocytic pathways will be established,” according to the patent abstract. The computational tools developed from the proposed research are expected to aid the research community in addressing “fundamentally important issues at nano-bio interfaces that cannot be explored systematically and quantitatively by experiments alone.”

Development of CREMA: A High Throughput Method for the Identification of Promoter Mutations. Start date: March 1, 2007. Expires: Feb. 29, 2008. Awarded amount to date: $101,699. Principal investigator: Erich Grotewold. Sponsor: Ohio State University Research Foundation.
Funds development of CREMA (Cis Regulatory Element Mutational Analysis), an approach that integrates genetics, molecular biology, and bioinformatics in order to identify point mutations in promoters and other regulatory regions. In this project, CREMA will be tested with a small subset of well characterized Arabidopsis promoters.

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The Scan

Wolf Howl Responses Offer Look at Vocal Behavior-Related Selection in Dogs

In dozens of domestic dogs listening to wolf vocalizations, researchers in Communication Biology see responses varying with age, sex, reproductive status, and a breed's evolutionary distance from wolves.

Facial Imaging-Based Genetic Diagnoses Appears to Get Boost With Three-Dimensional Approach

With data for more than 1,900 individuals affected by a range of genetic conditions, researchers compared facial phenotype-based diagnoses informed by 2D or 3D images in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey Suggests Multigene Cancer Panel VUS Reporting May Vary Across Genetic Counselors

Investigators surveyed dozens of genetic counselors working in clinical or laboratory settings, uncovering attitudes around VUS reporting after multigene cancer panel testing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.