Press Release

TIGR Selected as Inaugural Participant in National Genomic Research Initiative

Research to Focus in Heart, Lung, Blood and Sleep Disorders

October 09, 2000

ROCKVILLE, MD -- The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), a not-for-profit research organization, has joined a groundbreaking consortium funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The consortium of 35 universities and research institutes is part of a major initiative, which will establish 11 four-year Programs for Genomic Applications (PGAs) nationwide. The NHLBI, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), issued grants on September 30 totaling $37 million to launch the PGAs.

PGAs will utilize and expand upon the data and technologies currently developed to map and sequence the human genome to advance genomic research specifically related to heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders. This initiative will take sequencing of the human genome into a new realm. John Quackenbush, Ph.D., a scientist at TIGR and one of the inaugural PGA directors, received funding for Expression Profiling of Rodent Models of Human Disease, selected as one of the nation's first PGAs.

Researchers at TIGR, The Jackson Laboratories (TJL), Boston University (BU), Duke University (Duke), University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), have developed a broad-based response to this challenge in which they will develop a number of tools and techniques that will provide links between physiologically relevant animal models of human disease and the genes that are differentially expressed in those physiological models. The TIGR-led consortium will examine gene/environment interactions in rodent models of human disease using cDNA microarrays to link phenotype to genotype.

"While we have a long history of associating genes and gene defects with a large array of disease phenotypes," said Dr. Quackenbush, "studies increasingly suggest that many disease phenotypes occur through the interactions of genes with their environments, including the genetic background in which the genes are expressed. Our goal is to begin to explore these interactions using rodent models of human disease and cDNA microarray assays to reveal patterns of gene expression."

"Our PGA brings together biologists, statisticians, computer scientists, engineers, and physicists who will lend their expertise to the achievement of our common goals. Our proposal builds on existing expertise at TIGR in the analysis of gene expression using cDNA microarrays, the mouse mutagenesis and phenotyping programs that have been developed by The Jackson Laboratories and their collaborators at Penn, Duke, and Boston Universities, and the efforts in rat genomics underway at the Medical College of Wisconsin," said Dr. Quackenbush. "Linking these programs are coordinated efforts in bioinformatics that will both facilitate data exchange between consortium members and will make that data easily accessible to the wider research community."

"TIGR is committed to finding ways, independently and through collaborative efforts, to provide community service through scientific research," said Claire M. Fraser, President of TIGR. "We are pleased that through the efforts of Dr. Quackenbush, we are once again part of a research effort that will allow us to utilize our talents by creating reagents, software and data that will offer important information and access to that information to the wider research community."

At the forefront of the emerging area of genomic science since its inception in 1992, TIGR continues its mission of conducting pioneering research in structural, functional and comparative analysis of genomes and gene products in bacteria (pathogenic or disease causing and environmental) archaea and eukaryotes, both plant and animal.