Genomics research grants awarded to LAS projects

Two innovative research projects by faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have been awarded grants by Iowa State University's Center for Integrated Animal Genomics (CIAG). The grants were awarded to ISU faculty through a competitive program that provides seed money for animal, microbial and comparative genomics research.

"The projects funded by these grants further CIAG's goals to promote collaboration and enhance research competitiveness in genomics areas," said Max Rothschild, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and professor in the Department of Animal Science. Rothschild is co-director of CIAG along with Susan Carpenter, professor in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventative Medicine.

Researchers in three departments will work together on one of the CIAG-funded research projects. Drena Dobbs, associate professor in the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, Vasant Honavar, professor in the Department of Computer Science, and Robert Jernigan, professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, will develop and provide Web-based access to MacroBindR. MacroBindR includes databases of protein binding sites and computational tools for analysis, prediction and visualization of protein binding sites. Both Dobbs and Honavar are faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Dennis Lavrov, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, will conduct a genomic search for the elements of cell-to-cell interaction in a particular type of sponge. This information will be the basis for further studies on understanding signaling pathways in sponges and the evolution of these pathways in other animals.

The Center for Integrated Animal Genomics is one of Iowa State's presidential initiatives. It is made up of an interdisciplinary group of 70 ISU faculty from five colleges who use animal genomics, microbial genomics, comparative genomics and bioinformatics to identify, map and understand the function and control of genes. CIAG's goal is the improvement of animal and human health.