$4.5 million grant from NIH will help to turn genomic knowledge into promising drug targets
In the wake of the completion of the human genome sequencing project, five New York research institutions have joined together in a collaborative effort to turn that knowledge into promising drug targets. Today, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the U.S. government's National Institutes of Health, awarded the New York Structural Genomics Research Consortium (NYSGRC) $4.5 million to develop high-speed methods to decipher the three-dimensional structures of proteins. The award will fund the first year of a five year pilot program launched by NIGMS called the Protein Structure Initiative
The member institutions of the consortium are Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, The Rockefeller University and Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
"We are embarking on a program, which, if proven effective, will provide a way for researchers to come to grips with the impending flood of genetic data and speed its translation into therapeutic use," says consortium leader Stephen K. Burley, M.D., D.Phil., who is the Richard M. and Isabel P. Furlaud Professor at The Rockefeller University and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "The initiative is aimed at developing a comprehensive mechanistic understanding of human and microbial physiology at the molecular level. This strategy should lead us to medically relevant data more quickly."
The human genome sequencing project was often portrayed as an end in itself, but most scientists recognize that its completion represents only a starting point from which to ask questions about other biological processes. While genes carry the "blueprints" for life, proteins perform the vital functions necessary for life to exist.