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NINDS Plans Epilepsy Genetics 'Center'

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke plans to fund new grants to support both research and the creation of a research core that will focus on identifying genetic factors that contribute to epilepsy symptoms.

Under a new funding program, NINDS expects to award up to $3 million to fund linked applications from large, multidisciplinary groups of investigators to create an Epilepsy Center without Walls on Human Genetics. This center will involve groups of investigators that will participate in research aimed at accelerating discovery of the genetics involved in single-gene and complex epilepsies.

NINDS believes that such research should accelerate progress in translating genomics to enable biologically-based diagnoses, individualized treatments, and target identification of truly novel therapeutic agents.

Researchers may seek funding from this program for a range of studies involving genetic variation and epilepsy, such as determining and evaluating variation between phenotyped patients that have epilepsy with Mendelian causes; using whole-genome and exome sequencing approaches and analyzing copy number variations; discovering genes involved in epilepsy syndromes with a clear heritable component but which are not Mendelian; and conducting studies to detect epigenetic effects on epilepsy, among others.

The grants also will be used to fund the administrative core support for the Epilepsy Center without Walls. That support will provide leadership and expertise in designing the center and handling issues involving sample submission, regulation, and data compliance; provide reports to NINDS on all issues related to individual projects and performance of subcontract sites; track publications from the project and help investigators prepare collaborative presentations and reports, provide a space for annual meetings and teleconferences, and provide other services.

In addition, the funding will provide core support for the center including developing protocols for sample preparation and genetic analysis; generating high-quality, annotated sequencing data; making raw and analyzed data available to the center's investigators; and providing a coordinator to support collaborative genotyping efforts.

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