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Rutgers receives NIH grant to determine protein structures

Archived article from Oct 6, 2000

By Margaret Sullivan  

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has announced the awarding of a major grant to a Rutgers-led consortium of research scientists for a five-year project working to determine the structures and functions of proteins. The first-year award is $4 million, with total funding over five years reaching some $25 million.

With more information on the human genome becoming available every day courtesy of the Human Genome Project, the public has become optimistic that new cures for diseases will follow immediately. Yet merely knowing gene sequence information does not tell the whole story. For the genetic sequences to have real value, scientists must determine the corresponding information about the proteins encoded by the genes.

The NIGMS award, one of seven awarded nationally, is part of the agency's structural genomics initiative. Structural genomics is the study of structural data and, ultimately, functional information of all known proteins based on the information of protein families.

Gaetano T. Montelione, a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry and a resident faculty member at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine (CABM), is the principal investigator in a consortium of scientists working at the interface between computation, structural biology, biomedical research and information sciences to determine each gene's biochemical function.

"We see this award from the National Institute of General Medical Science as a reflection of the stature of Rutgers' faculty members as world-class research scientists," said President Francis L. Lawrence. "Multi-institutional partnerships such as this one led by our faculty will help establish the university as a leader in the rapidly expanding field of bioinformatics."

"Structural genomics is advancing the Human Genome Project to a functional level and opening exciting new opportunities in biotechnology and medicine," said Aaron Shatkin, director of CABM. "This outstanding award will support the efforts of Guy and his colleagues at the forefront of bioinformatics -- a rapidly growing, dynamic and critically important force in life sciences research."

This NIGMS grant was awarded to the Northeast Structural Genomics Consortium (NESGC), with principal scientists from Rutgers, Columbia University, the University of Toronto and Yale University.

CABM is jointly sponsored by Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and receives support from the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology.

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Last Updated: May 30, 2006

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