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Genomics Investigators Among Beneficiaries of $282M in New NIH Director's Awards

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health today awarded $282 million in grants spread over 89 Director's Awards including some for notable new molecular and genomics research efforts.

The funding is part of the NIH's High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program, which is intended to aid "creative scientists proposing highly innovative research to address major challenges in biomedical science," the agency said.

The $282 million announced today is to be split between 10 Pioneer awards, 58 New Innovator awards, 10 Transformative Research awards, and 11 Early Independence awards.

Among the New Innovator awards is a grant to Stanford University's Alistair Boettiger, whose lab combines single-molecule imaging and developmental genetics to study cis-regulatory control of gene expression.

Northwestern researcher Gemma Carvill is receiving funding for investigation of cell-free DNA sequencing in unexplained epilepsy, while University of California, San Francisco professor Stephen Floor is investigating how the diversity of RNA molecules impacts protein production and cell fate in diseases like cancers and developmental disorders.

Charles Gawad at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading a project to create a catalog of cancer clonotype drug sensitivities using single-cell genome sequencing.

Yale investigator Sidi Chen, Luke Gilbert at the University of California, San Francisco, and Po-Ru Loh of Brigham and Women's Hospital plan to apply genetics to immunotherapy target discovery, to map genetic interactions in the human cell nucleus, and to use ultrasensitive computational methods to detect mosaic structural variants.

Among the Transformative Research awards is one that will support a study by Dinu Albeanu and Alexei Koulakov at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, who are applying high-throughput sequencing and imaging to study how olfaction takes place on a functional basis in brain cells.