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December 6, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Grants to help UW link genome with diseases

Researchers at the University of Washington will get $30 million in federal grants over the next four years to help find causes of rare inherited diseases, using genome-sequence information, and to figure out how to apply such discoveries to patients and their family members.

The grants, part of an ambitious, $416-million program by the federal National Human Genome Research Institute, will go to fund three centers, including one at the UW, to study single-gene mutation disorders, and to five multi-disciplinary teams around the country to study the use of genetic information in clinical settings.

The UW will receive $5.2 million per year for four years to start a Center for Mendelian Genomics, lead by Dr. Deborah Nickerson, a professor of genome sciences. The Center will build on past technologies to look at rare, single-gene mutation disorders with an eye toward discovering mechanisms underlying more common disorders such as heart disease  or cancer.

Dr. Gail Jarvik, head of the UW’s Division of Medical Genetics, will receive another $2.3 million per year for four years to look at how information gathered from genome sequencing should be used with patients. Working with patients with colon cancer or a family history of the disease, the team plans to assess the social, ethical and personal implications of genetic information, as well as costs.

Comments | More in General news | Topics: Center for Mendelian Genomics, genome, genome sequencing

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