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NHGRI launches Centers for Excellence in Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications Research

BETHESDA, Md., Tues., Aug. 31, 2004 The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today the funding of four interdisciplinary centers as part of a new initiative to address some of the most pressing ethical, legal and social questions raised by recent advances in genetic and genomic research.

The initiative, the Centers for Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research, is being led by NHGRI, with significant contributions from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). About $20 million in grants will be awarded over the next five years with DOE contributing $500,000 and NICHD, $450,000. The first four Centers are being established at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland; Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.; and the University of Washington, Seattle.

"The NHGRI's pioneering program supporting research in the ethical, legal and social implications of genomic knowledge provides the basis for this exciting new initiative," said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "We will now build upon this foundation by establishing interdisciplinary research centers that can take an even more dynamic and broad-based approach to identifying and addressing some of the most pressing issues facing individuals, families and communities in the genome era."

Each of the new centers will assemble a team of experts in several disciplines, such as bioethics, law, behavioral and social sciences, clinical research, theology, public policy, and genetic and genomic research. The interdisciplinary nature of these teams will allow the centers to develop innovative research approaches focused on specific sets of issues that relate to the numerous applications of genomic research, including the scientific goals and challenges identified by NHGRI in "A Vision for the Future
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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
31-Aug-2004


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