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Funding Update: Jun 4, 2010

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Recent NSF Awards in Proteomics and Protein Research

Title: Genetic Basis of a Unique Avian Reproductive Proteome
Principal Investigator: Richard Harrison, Findley Ransler
Sponsor: Cornell University
Start/End Date: June 1, 2010 – May 31, 2012
Amount Awarded to Date: $14,994

The proposed study will compare the proteomes of reproductive foams produced by male Japanese quail and a variety of related species in order to examine the genes underlying this unique trait and their evolution. According to the abstract, characterization of the foam genes and proteins will "increase our knowledge of the fertilization biology of quail," "provide insight into improving sperm function in other poultry species," and "inform us about the causes of infertility."


Title: Novel System for Targeting Nanobodies
Principal Investigator: Alexey Zdanovsky
Sponsor: Alpha Universe
Start/End Date: July 1, 2010 – Dec. 31, 2010
Amount Awarded to Date: $149,997

Funds a project aimed at developing a novel system of generating variable domains of heavy chain-only llama antibodies – also known as nanobodies. Instead of conventional methods, which require time-intensive llama vaccinations, the proposed system will use "universal pre-fabricated libraries for fast isolation of nanobodies with required specificities," which, according to the abstract, could "allow fast and inexpensive development of nanobodies produced in E. coli and specifically targeted to antigens of choice."


Title: Automatic, User-Programmable Variable Volume Mixing for General-Purpose Programmable Lab-on-a-Chip
Principal Investigator: Ahmed Amin
Sponsor: Microfluidic Innovations
Start/End Date: July 1, 2010 – Dec. 31, 2010
Amount Awarded to Date: $145,358

Funds a project pursuing hardware and software developments to address the challenge of variable volume fluid mixing in general-purpose programmable lab-on-a-chip devices, which is fundamental to running multiple assays with arbitrary mix ratios on such devices. The faster experimentation and assay development allowed by GPLoCs could "have significant scientific impact in the fields of proteomics, genomics, immunology, drug discovery, and biochemistry," according to the grant abstract.


Title: Extracellular secretion of affinity-tagged proteins in E. coli and their non-chromatographic purification using intein-mediated removal
Principal Investigator: Ruizhen Chen
Sponsor: Georgia Tech Research Corporation - Georgia Institute of Technology
Start/End Date: May 15, 2010 – April 30, 2013
Amount Awarded to Date: $150,000

The grant is being used to develop a system for the extracellular secretion of affinity-tagged proteins and their non-chromatographic purification using genetically engineered capturing scaffolds. According to the abstract, the proposed platform "is expected to simplify and lower the cost of protein production and can be easily adaptable for any affinity tagged protein of interest."

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.