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Funding Update: Apr 23, 2009

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Principal Investigator: Nicolas Polfer
Sponsor: University of Florida
Start/End Date: April 15, 2009 – March 31, 2010
Award Amounted to Date: $275,000
Title: Towards an Understanding of the Underlying Chemistry in Collision-Induced Dissociation of Peptides in Mass Spectrometry

The PI is investigating the collision-induced dissociation of peptides and whether a rearrangement process that some peptide and protein fragments undergo during CID can result in lost sequence information. According to the award abstract, the project "exposes undergraduate students at UF and high-school teachers in Florida to life sciences and life science-enabling technologies (such as mass spectrometry) via the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science for Life program, where undergraduates are introduced to highly interdisciplinary approaches and techniques important for biotechnology." The PI is developing modules focused on the application of cutting-edge technologies related to protein identification and mass spectrometry for summer teacher workshops organized by the University of Florida.


Principal Investigator: Eduardo Macagno
Sponsor: University of California, San Diego
Start/End Date: April 15, 2009 – March 31, 2010
Award Amounted to Date: $407,935
Title: Bioinformatics Tools for the Analysis of the Spatiotemporal Organization of Protein Expression in Neural Functional Units

The award funds work to design, test, and implement new tools to analyze peptide and protein data acquired from biological tissues by mass spectrometry. The project is expected to yield detailed maps of the temporal and spatial distributions of thousands of individual molecules "and the capacity to examine patterns of expression as well as correlations in expression within ensembles of molecules," according to the abstract.


Principal Investigator: John Bilello
Sponsor: Ridge Diagnostics
Start/End Date: April 15, 2009 – March 31, 2010
Award Amounted to Date: $464,304
Title: Molecular Interaction Measurement System: A Label-free Detection Platform

The SBIR Phase II project is directed at determining the feasibility of molecular interaction measurement system, or MIMS, technology as a tool to detect and measure multiple protein biomarkers, specifically autoantibodies, within a single sample. The researchers aim to develop a prototype disposable biochip cassette with limited potential for biohazard exposure. The MIMS system they develop would be used for clinical purposes.

Principal Investigator: Andrea Armani
Sponsor: University of Southern California
Start/End Date: April 15, 2009 – March 31, 2010
Award Amounted to Date: $340,864
Title: Single Molecule Detection of Binding Kinetics

The project is directed at the development and demonstration of an optical sensor that can characterize antibody-antigen binding at the single-molecule level without relying on images. The instrument is based on resonance. The optical sensor can detect single molecules because as molecules bind to the sensor, its resonant frequency changes, resulting in fast response time and improved sensitivity.

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.