A $16.3 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health will fund a major new research program at The Jackson Laboratory (TJL) to increase the number and availability of mouse models for human neurological diseases, such as epilepsy, addiction, and neurodegenerative disorders.
The federal grant -- the largest single grant award in the Laboratory's 71-year history -- will fund a Neuroscience Mutagenesis Facility to create at least 50 new mouse models a year in neural disease areas including motor function, epilepsy, obesity, hearing, vision, learning, and memory deficits. In addition to boosting research at the Laboratory, the program will provide scientists worldwide with unrestricted access to the new resources.
Headed by neurogeneticist Dr. Wayne Frankel, a TJL staff scientist, the new program will involve collaborations with investigators from within the Laboratory and from other institutions, including the Monell Chemical Senses Center, University of Pennsylvania, University of Vermont, and Northern Illinois University. Dr. Kevin Seburn, a Research Scientist at TJL with expertise in neuromuscular physiology, is supervisor.
"This new program is truly ground-breaking. Our hope is that it opens the way for entirely new research approaches in gene discovery directed at understanding, treating, and preventing a wide range of devastating neurological and psychiatric disorders," says Director Dr. Kenneth Paigen. "It comes from a unique combination of expertise here in neurobiology and mouse genetics, and introduces sophisticated new techniques for detecting abnormalities in mice."
There is a growing collection of mouse strains that have provided insight into the function of mammalian genes in the central nervous system. However, research has been limited by an insufficient number of models whose appearance or behavior (i.e., phenotype) suggests specific neurological conditions found also in humans. A major goal of the NIH-funded
Contact: Luther Young