The Scripps Research Institute announced Thursday that it was awarded a five-year, $11.2 million federal grant to continue a long- running project to reveal the detailed workings of the mammalian immune system.
The project, which also includes professors from the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Seattle, Stanford University and the University of Texas Southwestern, aims to map the molecular and cellular interactions that underlie immunity and inflammation in health and disease. That in turn should enable the invention of better drugs and vaccines for infections, inflammatory diseases, and other immune-related ailments, according to TSRI.
The project has been funded by the National Institute for Allergic and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, for 15 years.
“It is one of the most productive large-scale science grants that NIAID funds,” said Richard Ulevitch professor in TSRI’s Department of Immunology.
The researchers use a system called “forward genetics,” in which the scientists create random DNA mutations in a population of test animals.
They screen the animals for resulting immune-related changes and, when they find significant ones, use state-of-the-art DNA sequencing technology to identify the mutated genes that caused the modifications.
The researchers also mine existing literature on gene and protein function, and apply the statistical and computational methods of systems biology, to connect the data points and thereby map the networks that underlie immunity.
Over the years, the scientists have published noteworthy findings in scientific journals and maintained online databases with their results.
—City News Service
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