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NIGMS Makes First Awards For

In an effort to encourage scientists to submit grant applications for highly innovative--but also highly risky--research studies, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) issued a call last March for "high risk/high impact" proposals. Now, NIGMS has awarded $2 million to support 20 grants from the first round of applications.

"These awards will provide an avenue for scientists to pursue innovative hypotheses that, if confirmed, would have a substantial impact on current thinking or approaches," said Marvin Cassman, Ph.D., director of NIGMS.

Four of the newly awarded grants are described below. The principal investigator's name and institution are in parentheses.

  • A study examining whether hydrogen sulfide (H2S)--a toxic gas that smells like rotten eggs--regulates functions in the brain, internal organs, and blood vessels. Like the gas nitric oxide, which helps regulate neural function, blood pressure, and many other processes, H2S is produced in the brain and in involuntary smooth muscle. An understanding of the role of H2S in these tissues may have many therapeutic applications, for example, in the control of blood pressure. (Hideo Kimura, Ph.D., Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego, CA)

  • An investigation of how tissues and organs grow to specific sizes and proportions. The researcher proposes that tissue size and shape are controlled by a competition between cell division and cell death. He plans to study fruit flies--which utilize many of the same genetic pathways as humans--to identify genes that maintain the balance between cell division and cell death. The work promises to provide a basic understanding not only of growing tissue, but also of developmental disorders, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. (Nicholas E. Baker, Ph.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY)

  • A method to grow cultured laboratory cells into a
    '"/>


  • Contact: Alisa Zapp Machalek
    alisa_machalek@nih.gov
    (301) 496-7301
    NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
    1-Apr-1998


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