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HudsonAlpha Wins $2M Grant to Study Transcription Factors in Psychiatric Disease

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology announced today that it has been awarded a two-year, $2 million grant to study the role of transcription factors in psychiatric disorders.

With the funding, which is being provided by the National Institute of Mental Health, HudsonAlpha researchers will analyze brain tissue samples from people free of psychiatric disorders as well as samples from individuals with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or major depressive disorder. They will also study neuronal cell lines from four individuals. They will measure genome-wide binding profiles for 100 transcription factors across all samples, and will analyze six key transcription factors in samples from specific brain regions. The researchers will then perform integrative analyses of these data, along with measurements of transcripts, DNA methylation, and other data types.

"We've seen in other projects that people who suffer from these disorders have different transcription factor activity in the brain, and we want to use that information to identify whether these proteins could contribute to the risk of psychiatric disease," HudsonAlpha President and Science Director Richard Myers, a principal investigator on the grant project, said in a statement.

"Ultimately, we hope the data from this transcription factor analysis will allow us to understand basic molecular functions in human brains and eventually to better understand the differences between people with and without psychiatric disease," added HudsonAlpha's Greg Cooper, the project's other principal investigator. "These data may point to genes or pathways with diagnostic, prognostic, or therapeutic value."

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