While genes and proteins have long held starring roles in biomedical research, lipids — fats and oils — often have a more direct effect on human health. A new grant from the National Institutes of Health puts lipids at center stage in an ambitious scientific project that promises to shed light on heart disease, arthritis and other major illnesses.
The five-year grant will fund the Lipid MAPS Consortium, a large collaborative effort led by the University of California, San Diego. NIH anticipates total funding of about $35 million on the project.
The new award is a "glue grant," so named because it enables large-scale biomedical research projects by bringing diverse groups of scientists together. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences originally conceived of glue grants following consultations with leaders in the scientific community who emphasized the importance of confronting intractable biological problems with the expertise of large, multifaceted groups of scientists.
The Lipid MAPS Consortium is divided into six focus areas. The "lipidomics" focus area will investigate six major groupings of lipids. Other scientific focus areas will cover informatics, cell biology, lipid detection and quantitation, and lipid synthesis and characterization. More than 30 researchers at 16 universities and two corporations will be involved. (A list of the institutions and principal researchers: http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/aug2003/nigms-11.doc).
The Lipid MAPS Consortium is the fifth glue grant awarded by NIGMS since 2000. For more information on all NIGMS glue grants, see: http://www.nigms.nih.gov/funding/gluegrants.html
For more information on the Lipid MAPS Consortium research plan, see: http://www.lipidmaps.org
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