UMDNJ Researcher Receives $1.6 Million Grant
Grants Bolster Efforts to Generate
Faster and Cheaper Tools for DNA Sequencing
NEWARK — In the near future, a person’s genome will be sequenced as a routine part of Medical research and health care due in part to the research efforts of Wlodek Mandecki, Ph.D. an adjunct professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School who received a $1.6 million three-year grant from The National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
Mandecki is one of 12 investigators to share in a $15 million endowment from the agency to support development of innovative technologies with the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of DNA sequencing.
"Innovative sequencing technologies are critical to our efforts to move advances in genomic knowledge into the clinic. The era of personalized medicine will demand more efficient and cost-effective approaches to DNA sequencing," said NHGRI Director Dr. Francis S. Collins, Ph.D.
DNA sequencing costs have fallen more than 50-fold over the past decade, fueled in large part by tools, technologies and process improvements developed as part of the successful effort to sequence the human genome. However, it still costs as much as $5 million to sequence 3 billion base pairs - the amount of DNA found in the genomes of humans and other mammals.
NHGRI's near-term goal is to lower the cost of sequencing a mammalian-sized genome to $100,000, allowing researchers to sequence the genomes of hundreds or even thousands of people as part of studies to identify genes that contribute to common, complex diseases. Ultimately, NHGRI's vision is to cut the cost of whole-genome sequencing to $1,000 or less, which will enable the sequencing of individual genomes as part of routine medical care. The approach has many complementary elements that integrate biochemistry, chemistry and physics with engineering to enhance the whole effort to develop the next generation of DNA sequencing and analysis technologies. The ability to sequence an individual genome cost-effectively could enable health care professionals to tailor diagnosis, treatment and prevention to each person's unique genetic profile.
The grant will allow Mandecki to develop revolutionary technologies aimed at making it possible to sequence a genome for $1,000 or less. Mandecki and his team will study the Ribosome-Based Single Molecule Method to Acquire Sequence Data from Genomes. His team will modify key components of the ribosome - the translation system that cells use to build proteins on messenger RNA templates - to read out the sequence of nucleotide building blocks along that message. Any DNA molecule can be converted to such a message, so by "sequencing" the messenger RNA, the sequence of the DNA itself could be determined.
Mandecki will be collaborating with Emanuel Goldman, Ph.D. and Hieronim Jakubowski, DSc., Ph.D., of UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Barry S. Cooperman, Ph.D. and Dr. Yale E. Goldman, Ph.D., of University of Pennsylvania and Julian Borejdo, Ph.D., Ignacy Gryczynski, Ph.D. and Zygmunt Gryczynski, Ph.D., of University of North Texas Health Science Center.
"The different approaches will likely result in several successful and complementary technologies. We will monitor carefully to see how each technology progresses and which of them can ultimately be used by the average researcher or health care provider," said Jeffery Schloss, Ph.D., NHGRI's program director for technology development. "Each research team brings a unique set of skills and expertise to solving difficult scientific and engineering problems.”
For more details about the NHGRI sequencing technology development grants, go to: The Genome Technology Program.
NHGRI is one of the 27 institutes and centers at NIH. The NHGRI Division of Extramural Research supports grants for research and training and career development at sites nationwide. Additional information about NHGRI can be found at http://www.genome.gov/.
The National Institutes of Health - "The Nation's Medical Research Agency" - includes 27 institutes and centers, and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more, visit http://www.nih.gov/
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,700 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.