Ali Mortazavi to share $10 million in NIH funding for critical genome mapping
With new NIH funding, Ali Mortazavi, UCI assistant professor of developmental & cell biology, will study the structure of all expressed genes using state-of-the-art, long-read sequencing technologies. Steve Zylius / UCI
February 3rd, 2017 - The National Institutes of Health is expanding its effort to create a fundamental genomics resource for scientific use in studying human health and disease. And through its Encyclopedia of DNA Elements Project, UCI assistant professor of developmental & cell biology Ali Mortazavi will share $10 million in grant funding over four years with the California Institute of Technology to establish one of eight mapping centers across the nation to pinpoint where genes and the regulatory elements that control them lie within the genome. With this award, the UCI-Caltech Precision Transcriptome Center will be able to explore the structure of all expressed genes using state-of-the-art, long-read sequencing technologies across a broader diversity of biological samples – including those from individuals with various diseases, as well as highly specialized cells – to expand the catalog of candidate functional elements in the human and mouse genomes.
Mathematician Qing Nie awarded foundation grant to study cancer drug resistance
Qing Nie and fellow researchers received funding from the Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation for Health & Policy and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
January 30th, 2017 - UCI mathematics professor Qing Nie and his collaborators have been awarded $455,000 to study cancer drug resistance by the Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation for Health & Policy and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Along with an interdisciplinary team of experimental cancer biologists, engineers and mathematicians, Nie hopes to identify novel and more effective treatments for patients with breast cancer. Drug resistance is a key impediment to breast cancer therapy. While genetic mechanisms of drug resistance have been a focus of many studies, the ability of a cell to dynamically evade drugs through nongenetic means – such as plasticity, an organism’s capacity to adapt to environmental changes – is an often overlooked mechanism for lack of drug efficacy. “Cellular plasticity gives rise to dynamic tumor difference through the generation of distinct subpopulations with diverse properties, including susceptibility to therapy,” Nie said. “We hypothesize that cell state plasticity contributes to drug resistance and that an integrated experimental and modeling approach can be used to identify rational approaches to overcome plasticity-induced resistance.”