Feng Yue, assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State College of Medicine, has been awarded a five-year, $1.91 million Maximizing Investigators’ Research Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health. The award will help to support his study on how genetic variants contribute to gene regulation and three-dimensional organization of DNA molecules that influence human diseases.
Although recent studies have discovered thousands of genetic variations that are associated with human diseases or traits, how these variants contribute to the development of disease are not known, mainly due to the fact that the majority of them being located in regions of the DNA that are not used to encode proteins. Fortunately, great strides in genomic technologies have been made recently that allow researchers to link these variants to their target genes.
“This grant will help us make major progress in understanding the mechanism and effects of genetic variations toward human disease,” Yue said.
The specific grant is from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Part of the National Institutes of Health’s outstanding investigator award program, the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award offers greater stability and flexibility to enhance scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs.
The funding will allow Dr. Yue to use a combination of high throughput genomic experiments, computational modeling, and functional assays in an attempt to reveal how to identify non-coding causal variants for human diseases, and ultimately uncover the molecular interactions for the formation of 3-D genome organization and the impact of 3-D genome organization on gene regulation and human diseases.
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