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Notable new grants

New Center to Develop "Walking DNA" for Drug Delivery

Milan Stojanovic, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, received a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation's Chemical Bonding Center Program to produce synthetic molecular "walking" machines suitable for drug delivery. The project, under the auspices of Columbia's new Center for Molecular Cybernetics, will make nanoscale machines that use legs of DNA to walk along synthetic tracks. The project involves investigators from six other institutions.

The Search for New Alzheimer's Genes Continues

A Columbia-led consortium that is spearheading the recruitment of 1,000 more Alzheimer's families into genetic research has received a new five-year, $10 million grant to expand the project.

Only one gene has been linked to late-onset Alzheimer's disease, but more are thought to exist.

The project has enrolled nearly 500 families in the genetics initiative since 2002. The new grant will fund the recruitment of 500 more families and begin the follow-up and genotyping of the original families. Richard Mayeux, M.D., the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Epidemiology, is the PI on the study.

MAGNetic Attraction

A new National Center for Biomedical Computing is being created at Columbia with a five-year, $18.5 million grant from the NIH. The new center – dubbed MAGNet, (Multi-scale Analysis of Genetic and Cellular Networks) will use computers to gain a greater understanding of how the components of a cell work together.

"Computational biology will revolutionize biology as well as our ability to translate basic science into clinical medicine," says MAGNet director Andrea Califano, Ph.D., professor of biomedical informatics.

MAGNet is one of seven centers established in the last two years by the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. The centers will develop the computational and scientific infrastructure as well as software and data management tools that will be required to address the major challenges of biomedical research in the 21st century.

New York Structural Biology Center Completes New Wing

A 10-member consortium of which Columbia is a member has substantially completed a new 12,000 square-foot wing on the campus of City College to house four state-of-the-art advanced electron microscopes to image large biological molecules and their interactions. The construction was made possible by a grant from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR).