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NIH awards Rutgers $47.5 million to advance groundbreaking research on protein structures
Date:9/30/2010

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Rutgers University $47.5 million to advance groundbreaking research on three-dimensional protein structures and to collect and disseminate protein structure information among scientists worldwide. The work helps scientists understand protein interactions that cause or promote diseases and helps scientists devise therapies to combat these diseases.

The Rutgers grants are among 23 that the NIH has awarded this past month for structural biology research, totaling up to $290 million over five years. The awards are the next step in the funding agency's Protein Structure Initiative (PSI), an effort begun in 2000 to develop highly efficient ways to reveal the three-dimensional (3D) structures of many different proteins.

Rutgers manages two major programs as members of the PSI. One is the Northeast Structural Genomics Consortium (NESG), and second is the Structural Biology Knowledgebase (previously called the Structural Genomics Knowledgebase). The former is receiving $35 million; the latter, $12.5 million.

Over the past decade, NESG has developed new methods and tools to streamline the laborious steps involved in determining 3D protein structures the complex series of twists and shapes of protein molecules. These shapes influence how proteins regulate life functions and promote or prevent disease. NESG is a consortium of nine universities and research facilities led by Gaetano Montelione, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at Rutgers. Montelione was recently appointed as the university's first holder of the Jerome and Lorraine Aresty Chair in Cancer Research.

Montelione and his colleagues use nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), X-ray crystallography and computational methods to determine these structures. In addition to activities at Rutgers, NESG integrates activities at Columbia University, University of Buffalo, University of Toronto and several
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Contact: Carl Blesch
cblesch@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084 x616
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

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