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Lipids get the spotlight in new NIGMS 'Glue Grant'

While genes and proteins have long held starring roles in biomedical research, lipids--fats and oils--often have a more direct effect on human health. A new grant from the National Institutes of Health puts lipids at center stage in an ambitious scientific project that promises to shed light on heart disease, arthritis and other major illnesses.

The five-year grant will fund the Lipid MAPS Consortium, a large collaborative effort led by the University of California, San Diego. NIH anticipates total funding of about $35 million on the project.

The new award is a "glue grant," so named because it enables large-scale biomedical research projects by bringing diverse groups of scientists together. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences originally conceived of glue grants following consultations with leaders in the scientific community who emphasized the importance of confronting intractable biological problems with the expertise of large, multifaceted groups of scientists.

"Today's large, complex biomedical problems demand more intellectual and physical resources than a single laboratory or small group of laboratories can offer," said Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health. "By funding scientists from diverse fields and bringing them together, this project dramatically increases the likelihood of a strong return on our research investment. We expect to significantly improve our understanding of the role of lipids in many serious diseases."

The Lipid MAPS Consortium will seek to identify and measure the amounts of all lipids within a cell. This information will give scientists a picture of how lipids interact with each other and with the inner structures of our cells at varying times and locations.

Funding for the project comes from NIGMS, part of the National Institutes of Health. NIGMS will provide $6.3 million for the first year of the project.

"NIGMS expects that this projec
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Contact: Dan Hogan
hogand@nigms.nih.gov
301-496-7301
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
11-Aug-2003


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