NIAID creates initiative for new genomic centers for infectious diseases

The National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recently announced a new initiative that would create Genomic Centers for Infectious Diseases as a collaborative program to use sequencing data to learn more about pathogens. The NIAID issued a funding opportunity announcement last week for proposals that focus on the combination of next generation, state-of-the-art genomics sequencing technologies and bioinformatics analyses to understand infectious diseases. The announcement said the applications should focus on human pathogens and their host interaction, Global Biodefense reports. Applicants are advised to explain how the proposed research projects are synergistic and fit under the overarching theme of the proposed center. The program is meant to build upon the resources and technologies that have been generated through current genomic research efforts supported by the NIAID such as the Structural Genomics Centers for Infectious Disease, the Systems Biology Centers for Infectious Diseases, the Clinical Proteomics Centers for Infectious Diseases and Biodefense and the Genomic Sequencing Centers for Infectious Diseases. Two to three of the genomic centers will be established to support a diverse set of genomic sequencing activities with an emphasis on high-throughput applications and on the pathogen's host interaction. The NIAID expects the program will use and develop or improve applications of sequencing such as metagenomics or RNA sequencing, Global Biodefense reports. Letters of intent for the project are due May 24 with the earliest start date set for April 2014.