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Beta Cell Biology Consortium.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is seeking applications to establish a Beta Cell Biology Consortium for the purpose of intensifying investigator-initiated research; attracting new investigators into the field; encouraging interdisciplinary approaches to research in this area; fostering the application of basic research to generate new research tools and approaches for the diagnosis, treatment, and cure of diabetes; and establishing a comprehensive database for the beta cell. Through the consortium, individual Beta Cell Biology Programs will have access to information, resources, technologies, expertise, and reagents that are beyond the scope of any single research effort.

One of the goals of this request for applications is to build upon the foundation of the ongoing Functional Genomics of the Developing Pancreas Consortium through the initiation of a series of complementary projects to further understand the function of the beta cell, and to generate reagents and assays needed for the development of novel cellular therapies for diabetes. In addition to the Functional Genomics of the Developing Pancreas Consortium, major scientific advances and technologic breakthroughs in basic disciplines such as developmental biology, stem cell biology, mouse genetics, imaging, bioengineering, and bioinformatics demand that a multifaceted, interdisciplinary, coordinated, collaborative approach on several fronts be utilized to generate key reagents, assays, and new strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The NIDDK will fund as components of the Beta Cell Biology Consortium approximately five Beta Cell Biology Program applications, each supporting a multidisciplinary team. A Beta Cell Biology Program could consist of several collaborating investigators representing one or more institutions. Each program, consisting of at least three projects and one or more cores, must address at least two of the six targeted scientific areas: 1) beta cell development, 2) prospective identification and purification of pancreatic stem/progenitor cells, 3) development of clonogenic assays for evaluating potential stem cells, 4) evaluation of pancreatic islets for transplantation, 5) functional imaging of the beta cell, and 6) cell culture modeling of the human pancreatic beta cell. Each program must include a plan that addresses the need for data coordination within the consortium.

Each program will be in the general form of a program project, composed of several projects and one or more cores relating to the overall theme of the program. The NIDDK plans to commit up to $7.25 million in FY 2001 to fund approximately five new awards for Beta Cell Biology Programs. It is anticipated that an additional $500,000 in direct costs per year will be used to establish a bio-informatics coordinating center in FY 2002. An applicant may request a project period of up to five years. The award for each program will be limited to $1 million in direct costs per year. The number of awards to be made is dependent on the receipt of a sufficient number of applications of high scientific merit and on the availability of funds.

Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent by 16 March 2001, with final applications due 17 April 2001. More information is available on the Internet at grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DK-01-014.html.

Contact: Sheryl M. Sato, Program Coordinator, Cellular Basis of Metabolic Diseases, DDEM, NIDDK, 2 Democracy Plaza, Room 6105, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, MSC 5460, Bethesda, MD 20892-5460 USA, 301-594-8811, fax: 301-480-3503, e-mail: Reference: RFA No. DK-01-014
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Publication:Environmental Health Perspectives
Date:Feb 1, 2001
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