Nearly $8 million in NIH funding for new projects flowed into Massaschusett in May. Here’s a sample, with links to labs and full project descriptions:
- $936,346 for strategies to treat antibiotic resistant bacteria to Harvards Thomas Bernhard
IDENTIFYING AND VALIDATING NEW ANTIBIOTIC TARGETS IN CELL WALL SYNTHESIS PATHWAYS New strategies to treat antibiotic resistant bacterial infections are sorely needed. This project combines small molecules and genetic methods to identify and validate new antibiotic targets in the pathway for assembly of the bacterial cell wall. The proposed work may lead to new therapies against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogens.
Dr, Bernhard will be giving a talk on his work on June 21 at The Forsyth Institute, Seminar Room A, 245 First Street, 17th Floor, Cambridge, at Noon, on “The ABCs of Bacterial Cell Division,” as in ABC tranporters.
- $356, 356 for a prospective study looking at fat consuption and and breast cancer to Heather Eliassen at the Brigham and Women’s hospital
CIRCULATING FATTY ACIDS AND BREAST CANCER RISK: A PROSPECTIVE STUDY Fat intake has long been hypothesized to increase breast cancer risk, but cohort studies have not shown strong associations with total fat. This proposal seeks to expand our knowledge of the role of fat in breast cancer etiology by measuring specific fatty acids in the blood, representing fats from meat and dairy, processed foods, and vegetable sources, areas where dietary evidence suggests an association, as well as a marker of the internal transformation of fats with breast cancer risk. Characterizing these associations and further exploring potential mechanisms, will provide important knowledge about breast cancer prevention.
- $677, 984 for a exome chip data on 1,800 ADHD probands and their parents to Benjamin Neale at the Broad Institute
QUANTIFYING THE IMPACT OF RARE MUTATIONS ON ADHD We will generate exome chip data on 1,800 ADHD probands and their parents. The exome chip provides the first look at rare variation in the coding regions of genes that is heavily enriched for potential biological function. We will comprehensively analyze this data at a single locus, gene, and biological pathway level. This experiment promises to quantify the impact of rare mutations on ADHD.
- $304,950 for research using in vitro studies to reveal biochemical and physiological functions of ribosome specialization to Wendy Gilbert at MIT.
FUNCTIONAL CONSEQUENCES OF RIBOSOME HETEROGENEITY:Translational regulation is essential for human health and development, but only a handful of translational regulatory mechanisms are understood. The proposed work will provide the first detailed understanding of the biochemical and physiological functions of ribosome specialization, an under-studied topic in the translational control field. We anticipate that our results will have broad implications for the study of eukaryotic gene expression, and will also illuminate the etiology of disease states, including cancer, that are associated with dysregulation of ribosome function.
- $278,213 for research into virulence factors secreted by many different pathogenic bacteria Alejandro P. Heuck at UMass medical school in Worcester
MOLECULAR MECHANISM OF TRANSLOCON ASSEMBLY INTO CELL PLASMA MEMBRANES I have developed a set of fluorescence techniques that have been successfully used to characterize the structure and pore-formation mechanism of various homo- oligomeric cytolytic toxins. I now propose to extent the use of these techniques to multi- protein transmembrane complexes, like the T3S translocon. The fluorescence approach will be combined with other biochemical and biophysical techniques (e.g., electrophysi- ology measurements, single molecule techniques, and cryo-electron microscopy) to un- ambiguously address fundamental structural aspects of the T3S translocon structure and assembly. By selective incorporation of various probes (e.g., environment-sensitive fluorophores, crosslinkers, gold-nanoparticles, charged groups, etc.) in the P. aerugi- nosa translocators, we will experimentally identify, among other things: which segments of these proteins are essential to determine the characteristics of the translocon channel, what segments form the contact interface between the needle and the translocon, and how the translocators are arranged in the translocon complex formed in the mammalian cell membrane..