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NIH expands Human Microbiome Project; funds sequencing centers and disease projects
Date:6/23/2009

ge of Medicine, Houston, Richard Gibbs, Ph.D.; $3.7 million

Washington University Genome Sequencing Center, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, George Weinstock, Ph.D.; $16.1 million

The J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, Md., Robert L. Strausberg, Ph.D.; $8.8 million

This center is being funded through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The ARRA funds that support this center will provide a much needed investment to spur advances in the understanding of how microorganisms that live in or on our bodies affect our health.

In addition, the Broad Institute of MIT/ Harvard, Cambridge, Mass., which participated in the jumpstart phase of the Human Microbiome Project, is expected to participate in this phase of the project.

The Human Microbiome Project is also funding new pilot demonstration projects by researchers that will sample the microbiomes of healthy volunteers and volunteers with specific diseases over the next year. This will allow researchers to study changes in the microbiome at particular body sites that are healthy or affected by diseases. These studies will use samples collected from seven areas of the body: the digestive tract, the mouth, the skin, the nose, the vagina, the blood and the male urethra.

The pilot demonstration projects listed by principal investigator, body site (s), disease focus and approximate funding levels are:

Martin J. Blaser, M.D., New York University School of Medicine
Skin: Psoriasis
$560,000
This study will assess whether changes in the skin microbiome may contribute to psoriasis, an inflammatory skin disease.

Gregory A. Buck, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
Vagina: Bacterial Vaginosis and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
$1 million
This study will look at changes in the vaginal microbiome and its association with environmental factors, diseases and a woman's genetic makeu
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Contact: Geoffrey Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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