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DSF Charitable Foundation gives $3.9M to CMU's Center or Nucleic Acids Science & Technology
Date:3/21/2011

PITTSBURGHThe DSF Charitable Foundation has given a $3.9 million grant to Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology (CNAST) to further the development of novel biomedical tools targeted at monitoring and manipulating gene expression.

The grant will allow the interdisciplinary team of researchers to advance their work aimed at providing innovative approaches for understanding and treating disease. These include the development of peptide nucleic acids (PNA), synthetic analogs of DNA and RNA that have extraordinary scientific and therapeutic potential.

"We are so grateful to the DSF Charitable Foundation for this tremendous award, which will position CNAST and Pittsburgh to generate fundamental biomedical discoveries in the coming decade," noted Fred Gilman, dean of the Mellon College of Science. "This award will leverage the trademark interdisciplinary work of our departments of Chemistry and Biological Sciences."

"CNAST's innovation is emblematic of the high-risk, high-return science we do, and for which federal funding is notoriously difficult to secure," added Richard D. McCullough, vice president for research and professor of chemistry. "The DSF Charitable Foundation's vision and generosity will help us to jump-start some amazing projects so that we can successfully vie for these additional funds."

Nucleic acids, which include DNA and RNA, are vital to all living systems. DNA contains instructions for making proteins, the molecules that do most of a cell's work. RNA plays a key role in turning those instructions into functional proteins. If something goes awry during this process called gene expression too much or too little of a protein can be made, sometimes with disastrous effects.

"At CNAST we are creating tools that will help us to answer fundamental scientific questions and lead to the development of practical applications for treating genetic and infectious diseases
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Contact: Jocelyn Duffy
jhduffy@andrew.cmu.edu
412-268-9982
Carnegie Mellon University
Source:Eurekalert

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