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University of Maryland's IGS Reaps $15M from NIAID for Pathogen Genomics Center

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has received a $15.2 million grant to create a center to apply large-scale genomics and bioinformatics methods in a range of pathogen research projects.

The IGS will use the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funding to create the IGS Genome Center for Infectious Diseases, which will study pathogen biology, virulence, drug and pathogen resistance, and host-microbiome interactions, UMSOM said today.

The five-year NIAID grant will support core facilities that provide technology, data management, and administrative functions, as well as an immunology core.

The research programs will target three key areas: host/bacterial pathogens and the microbiome; genomic analyses of pathogenesis; and integrated genomics research into parasitic tropical diseases. These studies will involve whole and targeted genome sequencing, transcriptome profiling, RNA community profiling, and metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing. The center will run three sequencing platforms: the Illumina MiSeq and HiSeq instruments and the Pacific Biosciences RS II system. The center also will be tasked with running workshops and continuing educational initiatives to teach how to use genomics to tackle global health issues.

The IGS previously received NIAID funding as a Genome Sequencing Center for Infectious Diseases, a program that has now run its course and has been replaced by the GCID initiative.

The new center will be headed by IGS Director Claire Fraser, and David Rasko and Owen White will be team principal investigators.

"This team has been in the forefront of applying genomic techniques to advance scientific understanding of the vectors of infectious diseases, and the NIAID grant will catalyze further development of genomics approaches within global infectious disease communities," Fraser said in a statement.

"The NIAID grant will foster new collaborations across disciplines within the clinical and research centers in the School of Medicine, as well as within international infectious disease communities," added Albert Reece, vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland.