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J. Craig Venter Institute Awarded $43 Million, Five Year Contract From NIAID to Continue to Develop and Provide Sequencing, Genotyping, and Bioinformatics Expertise and Services in Infectious Diseases
Date:5/29/2009

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) announced today that they have been awarded a $43 million, five year contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, as one of their Genomic Sequencing Centers for Infectious Diseases (GSCID). Led by co-principal investigators, William Nierman, Ph.D., and Robert Strausberg, Ph.D., the contract will enable JCVI to continue to expand its decades-long expertise in infectious diseases and human genomics by providing important genomic services to the broader scientific community.

"The current worldwide outbreak of H1N1 flu, and the increasing prevalence of new and emerging infectious diseases makes our work more necessary than ever," said J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., founder and president, JCVI. "Since our first sequencing of the Haemophilus influenzae genome in 1995, to our most recent work in sequencing the isolates from the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak, JCVI is committed to being a major source for leading edge genomic data and tools to further scientific understanding of the microbial world and how it affects humans."

Over the course of the five year contract JCVI will work collaboratively with NIAID to provide genomics resources that are responsive to the needs of the global infectious disease community. To do this, JCVI investigators with scientific and technical expertise in infectious diseases, human genomics, DNA sequencing, genotyping, and bioinformatics, will continue to generate comprehensive genomic data sets that will enable pathogen countermeasures such as vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and surveillance methods.

Since 2003, JCVI (and through legacy organization, TIGR) has been providing these important services as a contractor under what was previously referred to as the NIAID Microbial Genome Centers program. During that contract period JCVI sequenced and analyzed 185 eukaryotic and prokaryotic genomes, and more than 3000 viral genomes. JCVI's participation in the NIH Human Microbiome program was also initiated under this contract program.

The recent work conducted at JCVI and led by David Spiro, Ph.D. in sequencing and analyzing the H1N1 (swine origin) influenza isolates, is supported by NIAID as part of the GSCID contract. Dr. Spiro and the team at JCVI continue to work closely with NIAID, National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), and the global scientific community to monitor and better understand the evolution of the current virus with the goal of anticipating and developing new and better therapeutics, diagnostics and vaccines to this constantly mutating viral threat.

About the J. Craig Venter Institute

The JCVI is a not-for-profit research institute in Rockville, MD and San Diego, CA dedicated to the advancement of the science of genomics; the understanding of its implications for society; and communication of those results to the scientific community, the public, and policymakers. Founded by J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., the JCVI is home to approximately 400 scientists and staff with expertise in human and evolutionary biology, genetics, bioinformatics/informatics, information technology, high-throughput DNA sequencing, genomic and environmental policy research, and public education in science and science policy. The legacy organizations of the JCVI are: The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), The Center for the Advancement of Genomics (TCAG), the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA), the Joint Technology Center (JTC), and the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation. The JCVI is a 501 (c) (3) organization. For additional information, please visit http://www.JCVI.org.

Media Contact: Heather Kowalski, hkowalski@jcvi.org, 301-943-8879


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SOURCE J. Craig Venter Institute
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