|NIGMS 'Challenge' Areas Get Millions in
Recovery Act Funds
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part
of the National Institutes of Health, has invested $16.4 million
of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funds
to jump-start a range of research projects that address critical
gaps in the basic biomedical and behavioral sciences.
The new two-year awards, which are called Challenge Grants, focus
on overcoming specific scientific and technological challenges
in areas of interest to NIGMS. These include stem cells, molecular
imaging, synthetic biology, drug discovery, green chemistry, behavioral
research and research training.
The Recovery Act awards support 19 projects in 12 states, enabling
scientists to explore important research questions while stimulating
their local economies through job creation, training and purchasing
of new equipment.
"The basic research supported by NIGMS lays a foundation
for disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention," said NIGMS
Director Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D. "These Challenge Grants, made
possible by the Recovery Act, enable us to capitalize on scientific
opportunities in a range of our mission areas by speeding progress
toward new tools, methods and knowledge."
The NIGMS Challenge Grants will enable, for example:
- James W. Thomas of Emory University in Atlanta ($852,500) to
develop a model organism — the prairie vole — for
studying the biological and environmental underpinnings of a
wide range of human social behaviors, including alcoholism, autism
and parental bonding.
- Virginia W. Cornish of Columbia University in New York City
($840,710) to develop very bright fluorescent chemical tags that
researchers can easily use to image single molecules in cells
and explore complex molecular interactions.
- Shannon S. Stahl of the University of Wisconsin-Madison ($747,166)
to use innovative approaches in chemistry and engineering to
enable more environmentally friendly methods for developing and
Other NIGMS Challenge Grant projects include:
Hierarchical Spatial Process Models for Estimating and Predicting
Health Effects, $610,295
Sudipto Banerjee, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis
Novel Approaches to Structure/Function Analyses of Heparan Sulfate
in Vivo, $844,027
Hannes Erich Buelow, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York
An Assessment of Multimodal Physics Lab Intervention Efficacy
in STEM Education, $809,695
Kwan H. Cheng and Beth Thacker, Texas Tech University, Lubbock
Neurogenomics of Social Behavior: Songbird Models, $979,180
David F. Clayton, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Capture of Ubiquitin Conjugation and Deconjugation Enzyme Substrates,
Robert Cohen, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
Nuclear Organization in Stem and Differentiated Cells, $775,000
Victor G. Corces, Emory University, Atlanta
Riboswitch Design Principles: Interplay Between Switching, Ligand
Binding and Folding, $938,041
Scott Patrick Hennelly and Kevin Y. Sanbonmatsu, Los Alamos National
Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.M.
Enzyme-Mediated Synthesis of Functionalized Terpene Structures,
Jay D. Keasling, University of California, Berkeley
Sub-Wavelength Imaging of Intracellular Metal Ions, $860,237
Joseph R. Lakowicz, University of Maryland, Baltimore
Biochemical Studies of Drosophila RNA-Induced Silencing Complex,
Qinghua Liu, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at
Structure-Function Studies of Modular Human Mediator Coactivator
Robert G. Roeder, Rockefeller University, New York City
Suspended Bilayers: New Technology to Study the Dynamics of Membrane
Structure and Function, $969,272
James E. Rothman, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
Reading the Histone Code: The Nanoscale Morphology of Epigenomic
Histone Modifications, $911,875
M. Mitchell Smith, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Molecular Platforms for the Development of Intelligent Therapeutics
Targeted to Diseased Cells, $999,892
Christina D. Smolke, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.
A New Paradigm for Biomolecular Simulations, $903,718 Donald G.
Truhlar and Jiali Gao, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis
Posttranscriptional Regulation of Gene Expression in Eukaryotes,
Karsten Weis, University of California, Berkeley
In addition to these awards, the NIH Office of the Director is
supporting 15 Challenge Grants closely aligned with the NIGMS mission.
For project details, go to http://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm,
check the box that says "Show only projects supported by NIH
Recovery Act funds" and enter the name of the scientist in
the Principal Investigator field.
NIGMS is a part of NIH that supports basic research to increase
our understanding of life processes and lay the foundation for
advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. For more
information on the Institute's research and training programs,
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers
and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic,
clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates
the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.
For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.