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UPenn, UGA Receive $23.4M for Pathogen Genome Database

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The University of Pennsylvania and the University of Georgia today announced that they received a contract for up to $23.4 million to continue jointly operating the Eukaryotic Pathogen Genomics Database.

The award, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, will support the core infrastructure of the database, which contains genomic information of disease-causing eukaryotes, such as the Plasmodium species that causes malaria. Worth $4.3 million in 2014-2015, the award is expected to total $23.4 million over five years.

EuPathDB, one of four Pathogen Bioinformatics Resource Centers in the US, provides the scientific community free access to genomic data related to microbes including Plasmodium, Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Toxoplasma gondii, and fungal pathogens. Other centers focus on data related to viruses, bacteria, and insect vectors.

Each month, EuPathDB receives 6.5 million hits from around the world, the University of Pennsylvania said in a statement.

"This database has expedited research in many ways," said Jessica Kissinger, director of the Institute of Bioinformatics at the University of Georgia and one of the project co-directors. "Vaccine scientists frequently want to examine how proteins have changed over time to identify those with signatures indicating that they provoke the human immune system. Those studying a specific antigen may wish to examine its structure and diversity, in order to prioritize those regions that might be most promising and relatively unlikely to develop resistance." Scientists can also use the data to perform experiments in silico.

This is the third time that the National Institutes of Health has awarded the universities money for the database.