Monday, November 23, 2009

NIGMS Invests in Scientific Grand Opportunities with Recovery Act Funds

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is investing $42.3 million for grants in scientific areas it identified as "Grand Opportunities (GO)." NIH developed the GO grant program to stimulate biomedical research and the economy using funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).

"The GO grants fund projects that promise to have a significant impact on a field of biomedical science over two years," said NIGMS Director Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D. "By closing specific knowledge gaps, creating new technologies, or building community-wide resources, these awards will dramatically propel progress in key scientific fields with a one-time investment."

The Recovery Act grants will also contribute to the economic recovery by creating jobs for researchers, technical and support staff, the makers of scientific equipment and others across the country. States receiving GO grants are: Arkansas, California, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin.

The GO grants include a broad range of projects. Several establish new databases, service centers or other resources that will be accessible to the entire scientific community, advancing biomedical research — and possibly medical care — for years to come. Others tackle large projects, such as understanding the activity of all the genes in human white blood cells, which require the collaborative work of dozens of scientists.

NIGMS has awarded 14 GO grants to scientists in 13 states:

VESPA: Vanderbilt Electronic Systems for Pharmacogenomic Assessment, $1.4 million.
Daniel Masys and Dan Roden, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville.
This project will receive funding from both NIGMS and the NIH Office of the Director. It will contribute to the goal of personalized medicine by creating a computer-based system to help doctors tailor their prescriptions to the genetic profile of each patient. The project aims to improve the effectiveness and safety of drug therapies.

Gene Expression and Regulatory Networks in Human Leukocytes, $7.3 million.
Christophe Benoist and Diane Mathis, Harvard Medical School, Boston

Advancing Drug Development from Medicinal Plants using Transcriptomics and Metabolomics, $6 million.
Joseph Chappell, University of Kentucky, Lexington
Dean Dellapenna, Michigan State University, East Lansing 
Sarah O'Connor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

The Cell: An Image Library, $2.5 million.
Caroline Kane, American Society for Cell Biology, Bethesda, Md.

Fine-scale Recombination Rate Variation Within and Between Drosophila Species, $1.8 million.
Josep Comeron, University of Iowa, Iowa City
Corbin Jones, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mohamed Noor, Duke University, Durham, N.C.

ImageJ as an Extensible Image Processing Framework, $1.8 million.
Kevin Eliceiri, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Subcellular Localization of Nanoparticles, $3 million.
Mauro Ferrari, Paolo Decuzzi and David Gorenstein, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston
Jim Klostergaard, Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, Chun Li and Anil Sood, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
Rebekah Drezek, Jennifer West, Lon Wilson and Junghae Suh, Rice University, Houston, Texas
Wah Chiu, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

Metabolomics Network for Drug Response Phenotype, $4.5 million.
Rima Kaddurah-Daouk, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.

The Arabidopsis Transcription Factor ORFeome + Downstream Genomic Application, $2 million.
Steve Kay, University of California, San Diego 
Joseph Ecker, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Calif.

Transcription Characterization of Medicinal Plants Relevant to Human Health, $2.8 million.
Norman Lewis and Rodney Croteau, Washington State University, Pullman

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Elucidating Gene Function in a Model Gram-Positive Bacterium, $2 million.
David Rudner, Harvard Medical School, Boston

SciBay: A New Methodology for Scientific Collaboration and Gene Function Determination, $4 million.
Martin Steffen and Simon Kasif, Boston University School of Medicine
Richard Roberts, New England BioLabs, Inc., Ipswich, Mass.

Stable Isotope Analytical Core for Studies in Human Metabolism, $0.5 million.
Robert Wolfe, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock.
This project will receive funding from both NIGMS and the NIH Office of the Director.

Innovative Supercomputing for Breakthrough Molecular Dynamics, $2.7 million.
Joel Stiles, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh

For project details, go to, 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, see

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): 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. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The activities described in this release are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). More information about the NIH Recovery Act grant funding opportunities can be found at To track the progress of HHS activities funded through the Recovery Act, visit To track all federal funds provided through the Recovery Act, visit