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Penn, Georgia Get $14.6M for Pathogen Database

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of Pennsylvania and the University of Georgia have won a $14.6 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to expand a pathogen genomic database that serves as a resource for scientists studying infectious diseases, Penn said today.

The Eukaryotic Pathogen Genome Database Resource (EuPathDB) is an open database that enables researchers to study genes, genomes, isolates, and other attributes of pathogens that affect humans. Disease researchers use the resource to identify potential vaccine antigens and drug targets in efforts to develop new diagnostics and therapeutics.

The most recent EUPathDB supports a total of 27 species, and provides bioinformatics for researchers focused on biodefense and emerging and re-emerging pathogens.

"It has been remarkable to witness the rapid growth of biomedical research in recent years, fueled by the genomic revolution … and it is particularly gratifying to see the impact of bioinformatics tools such as EuPathDB," David Roos, a professor of biology at Penn and director of the project, said in a statement.

"By integrating diverse sources of information -- all the genes in the genome, all the proteins in the cell, all patient responses in a population -- these databases offer great promise for improved human health," he added.

The database targets pathogens that threaten public water supplies, such as Cryposporidium, Giardia, and Toxoplasma, and others. It also may be used to study Trichomonas, the congenital pathogen Toxoplasma gondii, and the pathogens responsible for African sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, and others.

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