October 4, 2016
Again this year, it came down to the wire for Congress to pass a Continuing Resolution for the federal budget, so as to keep the government open past the end of Fiscal Year 2016 (that is, beyond September 30, 2016). Similar to previous years of late, we are now operating on what can be likened to "bridge funding" for grants - although in this election year, it is not quite clear where the bridge will lead us in terms of our final Fiscal Year 2017 funding level! We will obviously be monitoring this situation very carefully in the coming weeks and months.
October's The Genomics Landscape features stories about:
All the best,
I frequently boast of the accomplishments of the NHGRI Advanced Sequencing Technology Program, often referred to as the $1000 Genome Program. In fact, I am on record as saying that - in my opinion - it is the most successful technology development program in NIH history. As an example, such glowing accolades were heard out of my mouth a couple of weeks ago at the 78th meeting of the National Advisory Council on Human Genome Research.
Simply stated, the $1000 Genome Program has been spectacularly catalytic in advancing the development and refinement of new genome sequencing technologies. The fruits of multiple rounds of grant awards aimed at stimulating technology development in this area have helped to create the various new 'next-generation' DNA sequencing platforms that are now available. The field is in striking distance of truly achieving a '$1000 Genome.' Despite this collective accomplishment, NHGRI is not backing off in supporting genome sequencing technology development.
In 2015, NHGRI paused to take stock of the state of genome analysis technologies (DNA sequencing and other) in order to chart a path forward for future technology development efforts. We solicited input from the research community to guide our strategic thinking, which yielded concrete recommendations to support additional research in two main areas: DNA and RNA sequencing technologies and novel genomic technologies.
After generation of Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs), grant application receipt, peer review, and budget deliberations, NHGRI funded the first round of grants for Novel Nucleic Acid Sequencing Technology Development and Novel Genomic Technology Development. Both of these have an emphasis on pushing the genomics field to take big, bold steps.
The Novel Nucleic Acid Sequencing Technology Development program aims to develop new DNA and direct RNA sequencing technologies capable of yielding long read lengths at high accuracy and low cost. Recent awards were made to six investigators for a total of $6.75 million. Of note, this program is now funding technology development for direct RNA sequencing - a new area for NHGRI. For more information on these awards, see genome.gov/27566794/2016-News-Feature-NIH-commits-67-million-to-advance-DNA-RNA-sequencing-technology.
The Novel Genomic Technology Development program aims to catalyze investigator-initiated genomic technology development that will advance genomics research within five to seven years. The program hopes to enable a wide swath of genomic technology development, including single-cell methods, transcriptome analysis, and functional genomics. NHGRI hopes to accelerate scientific discovery by challenging researchers to stretch themselves in bringing forward completely novel ways of analyzing genomes and genome function. It is notable that the Novel Genomic Technology Development grants encourage researchers to put together teams of scientists from fields outside of genomics, such as bioengineering, to take on risky projects. Such efforts help to open up lines of communication among different scientific communities. Recent awards were made to seven investigators for a total of $10.4 million.
Though excited about these recent awards, I am also pleased to report that these are just the first sets of grants. The FOA for Novel Nucleic Acid Sequencing Technology Development is still active; a second set of applications has been received, and there is an upcoming application due date for the third set in June 2017. The FOA for Novel Genome Technology Development is also active, with upcoming applications for a second set due on October 31, 2016.
By continuing support for technology development, NHGRI aims to foster innovations that will continue moving genomics forward. With these two new programs, we are re-upping our commitment to technology development as a core element of NHGRI's genomics research portfolio.
ASHG-NHGRI Genetics & Public Policy and Genetics & Education Fellows
Each year, NHGRI's Division of Policy, Communications, and Education partners with the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) in sponsoring two fellowships - the Genetics and Public Policy Fellowship and the Genetics and Education Fellowship. The Genetics and Public Policy Fellowship provides the fellow an opportunity to gain valuable policy experience at the Institute, at ASHG, and in the U.S. Congress. The Genetics and Education Fellowship provides a genetics professional the opportunity to receive training and experience in preparation for a career in genetics/genomics education. This year's Genetics and Public Policy fellow is Christa Wagner, Ph.D., and the Genetics and Education fellow is Teresa Ramirez, Ph.D. - we welcome both to NHGRI!
Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past - David Reich
Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K): Enhancing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Digital Curation for Biomedical Big Data, Community-Based Data and Metadata Standards Efforts, Research Education Curriculum Development: Data Science Overview for Biomedical Scientists, and Enhancing Diversity in Biomedical Data Science
Limited Competition: Additional Sequencing for the Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project
Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program: Public Webinar - November 18, 2016
Past editions of The Genomics Landscape can be accessed at Director's Page Archive
Last Updated: October 8, 2016
Posted: August 4, 2008