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NIH grants will advance studies of the form and function of proteins
Date:9/30/2010

The National Institutes of Health has awarded 23 grants for structural biology research totaling up to $290 million over five years. The projects will focus on determining the shapes and functions of proteins important in biology and medicine.

The awards are part of the Protein Structure Initiative (PSI), an effort that started in 2000 with the main goal of developing highly efficient, or high-throughput, methods for revealing the structures of many different proteins. The structures help scientists answer questions about protein biology and model other structures.

With these new grants, the PSI begins its third five-year phase, PSI:Biology. A key aim is to utilize the high-throughput methods developed during the PSI's first decade to generate protein structures for functional studies.

"The PSI has been incredibly successful in establishing high-throughput pipelines that have led to more than 5,000 structures, most unlike any we've seen before," said Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., director of NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which funds the PSI. "Now it's time to deploy these capabilities so we can advance our understanding of the role proteins play in health and disease."

Four large-scale PSI:Biology centers will operate pipelines for determining protein structures nominated by the scientific community or identified by collaborating biologists funded by PSI:Biology grants. The centers, all established during the first phase of the PSI, are based in California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York and will receive up to $140 million in funding.

These centers will partner with eight groups of researchers that require the determination of many protein structures to understand biological processes or a molecule's function. These grants total up to $75 million.

For example, John Markley, Ph.D., at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will work with the large-scale centers to map all the unique pr
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Contact: Emily Carlson
carlsone@nigms.nih.gov
301-496-7301
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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