Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Broad Institute Awarded Major Grant to Bolster Epigenomics Research

02.10.2008
Researchers at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT announced today that they have received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to map the epigenomes of a variety of medically important cell types, including human embryonic stem cells.

The five-year, ~$15M grant, part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, designates the institute as one of four Reference Epigenome Mapping Centers nationwide that will aim to transform the understanding of an exquisite control system — a code of so-called “epigenetic” cues that specify when and where in the body genes are made active.

To systematically decipher and analyze these controls, researchers from across the Harvard and MIT communities will come together to study at least 100 distinct types of human cells using the latest methods in stem cell biology, genomics, technology, computation, and production-scale research.

“The human epigenome is arguably the next frontier of genomic research,” said co-principal investigator Alex Meissner, who is an associate member at the Broad Institute and an assistant professor in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University. “Bolstered by recent technological advances, this award will enable us to create comprehensive epigenomic maps of a variety of human cells and to share that data with the worldwide scientific community.”

“Epigenomics lies at a key intersection point between genome biology and human disease,” said Bradley Bernstein, a co-principal investigator as well as a Broad Institute associate member and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. “By glimpsing the normal epigenome at unprecedented breadth and depth, we will lay the critical groundwork for future insights into the epigenetic basis of a variety of diseases, including cancers.”

An overarching question in human biology is how cells in the body, with the exact same DNA, adopt such distinct forms and functions. The answer lies mainly in the epigenome, a special code of chemical tags affixed to DNA or to its supporting proteins (known as “histones”) that act as gatekeepers to the genome — enabling genes to be switched on or ensuring they remain switched off. In the past few years, two techniques have transformed researchers’ abilities to probe cells’ epigenomes: ChIP-Seq and high-throughput bisulfite sequencing (HTBS). These technologies can help pinpoint the genomic locations of various types of chemical tags, such as methyl groups, and thus chart the epigenome.

The Reference Epigenome Mapping Center (REMC) at the Broad Institute will help create comprehensive, genome-scale maps of the epigenomes of a variety of cells, including human embryonic stem cells, various adult stem cells, and other key cell types. The researchers will survey both the DNA backbone and its accompanying histone proteins for chemical modifications using HTBS and ChIP-Seq respectively, which take advantage of the increased throughput and decreased cost of next-generation DNA sequencing, and provide unprecedented precision and genomic coverage.

Just as the Human Genome Project provided researchers with a draft genome sequence, the REMCs will help create draft epigenomic maps of a diverse set of cell types. Those data will serve as a vast resource for the scientific community to enhance the understanding of epigenetic mechanisms of disease, pinpoint novel molecular targets for therapy, complement ongoing investigations of the genetic susceptibilities of a wide range of diseases, and bolster current research in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

The NIH award to the Broad Institute represents one of four areas of epigenomic research to receive funding under the NIH Roadmap Epigenomics Program. In addition to the work of the epigenome mapping centers, other funded centers will focus on epigenomics data analysis and coordination, technology development in epigenetics, and the discovery of novel chemical tags that mark the epigenomes of mammalian cells. Funds totaling roughly $18 million will be awarded for these activities in 2008.

About the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT

The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT was founded in 2003 to bring the power of genome-based knowledge to medicine. It pursues this mission by empowering creative scientists to construct new and robust tools for genomic medicine, to apply them to the understanding and treatment of disease, and to make them freely accessible to the global scientific community.

The Institute’s scientific community is comprised of faculty, professional staff, and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard, and is jointly governed by the two universities.

Organized around scientific programs and platforms, the unique structure of the Broad Institute enables scientists to collaborate on transformative projects across many scientific and medical disciplines.

Nicole Davis | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.broad.mit.edu

Further reports about: Broad Institute ChIP-Seq DNA Epigenomics HTBS Harvard NIH REMC cell biology cell types epigenome human cells stem cells

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht Classroom in Stuttgart with Li-Fi of Fraunhofer HHI opened
03.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI

nachricht Starting school boosts development
11.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>