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NHGRI Gives Caltech $18M to Create New Genomic Science Center of Excellence

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Human Genome Research Institute has doled out $54 million in grants to establish a new Center of Excellence in Genomic Science, and continue supporting two existing CEGSs.
 
The NHGRI will give the California Institute of Technology $18 million over five years to create a CEGS. It will be called the Center for In Toto Genomic Analysis of Vertebrate Development.
 
The NHGRI will also give the two existing centers $18 million apiece over the next five years. They are the Microscale Life Sciences Center at the University of Washington and the Yale Center of Excellence in Genomic Science.
 
At the Caltech CEGS a team led by Marianne Bronner-Fraser aims to generate new technologies “with the goal of imaging every gene that is important for development in vertebrates,” according to the NHGRI.
 
The Center will initially develop and test its technologies in zebrafish embryos and eventually move on to bird embryos. Ultimately, the team plans to produce a "digital" fish and a "digital" bird that will be available online.
 
The University of Washington's CEGS, led by Deirdre Meldrum, will try to develop miniaturized, automated systems to detect and analyze the differences between healthy cells and diseased cells at the level of an individual cell.
 
Meantime, Yale’s CEGS will be led by Michael Snyder and will continue trying to develop new technologies for identifying functional elements within the human genome.
 
The CEGS has already created new genomic tiling arrays that can identify transcribed sequences, transcription-factor binding sites, DNA replication timing and DNA sequence variation on a large scale. It now hopes to “improve these … technologies, as well as explore new methods and approaches, including protein microarrays, with the goal of using these tools in an integrated fashion to analyze the regulatory steps involved in inflammation,” NHGRI said.

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