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GWU, Collaborators Receive up to $14.6M DARPA Award for Research into Biological, Chemical Threats

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – George Washington University said today that it and collaborators have received up to $14.6 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop an approach to rapidly identify the mechanisms of biological and chemical threats.

As part of the five-year award, GWU will use proteomic, transcriptomic, metabolomic, and bioinformatic technologies to investigate the effects of toxic agents on genes, proteins, and cellular functions. The goal is to reduce to 30 days a process that can sometimes take years or decades, GWU said.

"By combining an immense amount of data gleaned from these disciplines, researchers believe it will be easier to determine the workings of a given biological or chemical threat in a given environment," the university said.

GE Global Research, Protea Biosciences, and SRI International are collaborating with GWU on the project.

GWU professor of chemistry Akos Vertes will use a laser ablation electrospray ionization technology to decipher the chemical composition of biological samples in the research. Protea licensed the technology from the university and developed the commercial product called LAESI-DP 1000 Direct Ionization System.

Vertes will develop de novo molecular network discovery capabilities as part of the work, Protea said in a separate announcement.