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Cleveland Foundation, Karolinska Institute, Structural Genomics Consortium, Institute for Systems Biology, Beckman, CeMines, NIGMS


Cleveland Foundation Awards $1.5M to Case Proteomics Center

The Cleveland Foundation said this week that it has awarded a three-year, $1.5 million grant to support the Case Proteomics Center at Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine.

The award was among $14.2 million in grants that the foundation approved at its quarterly meeting today.

The Case Western School of Medicine also received a three-year, $3.5 million grant to support a department of immunobiology in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic.

The Case Proteomics Center is currently seeking "a nationally renowned leader" as well as ten to 14 scientific researchers. The grant will fund staff salaries and "the purchase of major pieces of equipment," the Cleveland Foundation said in a statement.

Karolinska Institute Joins Canadian-UK Structural Genomics Consortium

The Structural Genomics Consortium has added a research center at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden to its two facilities at the University of Oxford and the Unversity of Toronto, the Karolinska Institute said last week.

The new laboratory plans to determine at least 50 new three-dimensional protein structures of biomedical importance in the next two years.

The SGC, a charity funded with $95 million over three years by GlaxoSmithKline, the government of Ontario, and two Canadian regional research trusts, has been operating since July 2004 and determined 78 novel protein structures in its first year.

Lee Hood Writing Systems Biology Textbook for Undergraduates

Lee Hood, president of the Institute for Systems Biology, is writing a textbook about systems biology for undergraduate students, he said at a conference earlier this month.

"Systems biology should start [at the undergraduate level] and there's nothing out there that even remotely covered the field," Hood told ProteoMonitor's sister publication GenomeWeb News following his keynote address at the 12th European Congress on Biotechnology, held at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, earlier this month.

The aim of the textbook, which is expected to be available in September 2006, is to educate undergraduate students about "biology as an information science and the emergence of systems biology so they can think in ... conceptual terms and have the framework for ... learning about any kind of system."

Hood said he decided to write the book because the educational system in the United States isn't doing enough to "integrate" disparate scientific disciplines to help students understand the way they interact in an organism — a common definition of systems biology.

"I think we do need to change the way we train" university students studying "fundamental sciences," Hood said. "Where education really fails [is] in fundamental sciences ... [because] there was an enormous concentration too early in their careers on details and not enough articulation on fundamental principles."

For example, he said he believes that students studying biology ought to pursue a dual major with, say, engineering, applied physics, or computer science. "I think the expectations in the US at the undergraduate level have been way too low," he said.

"We taught biology in the past too much as a scripted science ... and we're now in the position to teach it as a conceptual science," he added.

The book, "Biological Information and the Emergence of Systems Biology," by Roberts and Company Publishers, is co-authored with David Galas, Greg Dewey, John Wilson, and Ruth Veres.

Beckman, Immune Tolerance Network Open Cell-based Assay Core Lab

Beckman Coulter and the Immune Tolerance Network have opened a core laboratory to develop, standardize, and automate cell-based tests for clinical trials at Beckman's facility in Miami, the company said this week.

Researchers from ITN, Beckman, and investigators from the US and Europe plan to develop and validate new cellular assays of T-cell responses for monitoring immune tolerance in clinical trials. "We believe that Beckman Coulter has a special expertise in these areas and look forward to working with the company in developing a number of these assays," said Hugh Auchincloss, chief operating officer of ITN, in a statement.

The Immune Tolerance Network, based at the University of California, San Francisco, is an international research collaboration with a dozen core facilities.

CeMines' Estonian Subsidiary Seeks EU Clearance for Lung Cancer Dx

CeMines said this week that its Estonian subsidiary has filed for CE Mark registration for its gene expression-based lung cancer diagnostic.

CeMines filed for clearance through a Swedish business partner, Trial Form Support AB.

Golden, Colo.-based CeMines seeks EU clearance for clinical use of CellCorrect Lab test kits, which use a combination of its CellCorrect gene-expression-based auto-antibody detection technology, Molecular FingerPrinting statistical analysis platform, and a proprietary library of lung cancer biomarkers.

NIGMS Awards VisiGen $100K SBIR for New Biomolecule-Labeling Method

VisiGen Biotechnologies said this week that it has won a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences to develop a new method for labeling DNA, RNA, and proteins.

The company did not provide the amount of the grant, but an NIH database lists VisiGen as the recipient of a $100,000 award for a project entitled, "Novel Biolabeling Methods and Reagents."

An abstract for the project describes the technology as a "set of novel ATP-fluorescent-dye molecules and ATP-biotin molecules ... for the enzymatic, 5'-end-labeling of an oligonucleotide," and notes that the goal of the Phase I project "is to examine the labeling efficiencies of a library of labeled ATP variants and define the critical threshold for obtaining robust and reproducible signal intensities from labeled-targets hybridized to a microarray."

According to the company, the method can be used to directly label RNA for microarray experiments "at a fraction of the cost of current labeling methods" and also has "interesting applications" for the analysis of microRNA.

In August, VisiGen was awarded a three-year, $4.2 million grant by the National Human Genome Research Institute as part of its latest round of sequencing technology grants.


The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.