Leaders in Structural Genomics Get Funding Boost
Two structural genomics centers receive second renewal of major NIH contract
NOV. 13, 2017 (Seattle, Wash.) – The Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease (SSGCID) and the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases (CSGID) announced today they will receive up to $48.4 million over five years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. The contracts support the centers’ foundational research aimed at accelerating the development of new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics to combat deadly pathogens causing infectious diseases. The funding is a second 5-year renewal of NIAID contracts first received by the two centers in 2007.
The collaboration between SSGCID and CSGID focuses on state-of-the-art structural genomics technologies to characterize the three-dimensional structures of proteins from more than 100 bacterial, protozoan and viral pathogens. Proteins targeted for structure determination by SSGCID are selected for their biomedical relevance in human pathogens such as Ebola and Zika, as well as those responsible for tuberculosis, leprosy, malaria, influenza, and diarrheal infections. A recent focus of both the SSGCID and CSGID has been to solve protein structures from antibiotic resistant bacteria to help facilitate development of urgently needed new drugs to combat this very real threat.
These centers are two of the most productive structural genomics centers in the world, and are in the top 10 contributors to the global Protein Data Bank. Originally contracted in 2007 to solve 375 protein structures at each center, both CSGID and SSGCID significantly surpassed their goals by each determining more than 1,000 structures during the first 10 years of the contracts.
The SSGCID, a consortium of Washington-based organizations led by Peter Myler, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Core Services of the Center for Infectious Disease Research, includes collaborators at Beryllium Discovery Corp., the University of Washington and the Washington State University. The CSGID is a consortium of nine research groups, led by Principal Investigator Karla Satchell, Ph.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine alongside Co-Director Andrzej Joachimiak, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Labs. Collaborating members include researchers at University of Calgary, Purdue University, University of Virginia, Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Washington University and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
With the second renewal of the NIAID contract, the SSGCID and CSGID will intensify efforts toward determining the structures of pathogen proteins. This structural knowledge will facilitate structure-guided design and discovery of new vaccines and therapeutics against infectious diseases and may help elucidate basic mechanisms of pathogen infection. The efforts will additionally support the development of diagnostics and continue to provide a solid foundation to advance the basic understanding of these proteins and how they infect the human body. As part of the new contracts, SSGCID and CSGID will each undertake six dedicated projects each year – three focusing on protein functional characterization to experimentally characterize the molecular role and biochemical properties of selected targets, and three focusing on structure-guided vaccine and therapeutics discovery.
ABOUT THE CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH
The Center for Infectious Disease Research is the largest independent, non-profit organization in the U.S. focused solely on infectious disease research. Our research is the foundation for new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics that benefit those who need our help most: the fourteen million who will otherwise die each year from infectious diseases, including malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Founded in 1976, CID Research partners with key collaborators around the globe and strives to make discoveries that will save lives. For more information, visit www.cidresearch.org.
ABOUT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY FEINBERG SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, founded in 1859, attracts talented individuals to its faculty, staff, and student body through its cutting-edge research initiatives, superb clinical affiliates, global outlook, and innovative curriculum. Located in the heart of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, Feinberg has built a national reputation for excellence through a strong history of collaborative, interdisciplinary medical education and research, and along with Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Medical Group is part of the premier academic health system known as Northwestern Medicine. Feinberg stands out among the nation's research-intensive medical schools and consistently receives high marks in U.S. News & World Report surveys. Through its affiliates, it provides patient care to thousands of individuals every year, and plays an integral part in the communities it serves. The CSGID is within the Department of Microbiology-Immunology headed by chairman Lou Laimins, Ph.D. The department conducts research in the areas of bacterial physiology and mechanisms of infection, viral pathogenesis and oncology, as well as autoimmunity and host-response to infection.
The SSGCID was originally funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) through contract numbers HHSN272200700057C and HHSN272201200025C and has been renewed for an additional five years (contract number HHSN272201700059C). The CSGID was originally funded by NIAID through contract HHSN272200700058C and HHSN272201200026C and was renewed for an additional five years (contract number HHSN272201700060C).
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