Grant: $296,866 - National Institutes of Health - Aug. 14, 2009
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Award Description: The original P41 established the NCRR Integrated Technology Resource for Biomedical Glycomics at the University of Georgia to develop and implement new technologies to investigate the glycome of cells and exploit the use of these technologies to develop embryonic stem cell markers during their differentiation. Technological advances at the interface of these two emerging disciplines (glycomics and stem-cell biology) will accelerate the rate at which we understand the process by which pluripotent stem cells differentiate to form specialized cells, such as neurons and cardiac myocytes. This knowledge, specifically understanding how glycans at the cell surface change as the cell differentiates, is necessary in order to effectively direct the in vitro differentiation of stem cells for use in clinical applications (e.g., to replace cells killed or damaged by trauma or disease). The bioinformatics core of the Resource is charged with developing bioinformatics tools to integrate the diverse technology required to gain this knowledge. Its major goals are to: (1) establish structural data exchange protocols for glycomics; (2) extend ontological modeling for glycomics; (3) create an integrated glycomics knowledge and data repository; (4) design methods for contextually focused visualization and exploration of glycomic knowledge and data; (5) establish new approaches for building predictive models for glycomics. Although we have made significant progress toward each of these goals, their integration into a robust and intuitive problem solving environment will require a considerable amount of additional effort. To establish confidence in the knowledge embedded in the ontologies, it is necessary to implement an effective curatorial system to remove the inconsistencies and errors that are present in the publicly available information initially used to populate our ontologies. Furthermore, currently available methods are not adequate to process the large amounts of analytical glycomics data required to understand the biosynthesis and biological significance of cell-surface glycans. This administrative supplement will allow us to address these issues by providing the resources necessary to rapidly accomplish two primary goals: (1) repopulation of our ontologies with strongly curated knowledge; (2) establishment of a collaborative, modular workflow system for automated processing of analytical glycomics data. Successful accomplishment of these two goals will provide the requisite underpinnings for a robust bioinformatics system capable of solving real-world problems, especially in identifying the relationships between expression of cell surface glycans and the differentiation of stem cells.
Project Description: The initial step in achieving the goals of this ARRA funding was the hiring of individuals to perform the research. Several things were achieved in this regard since the initiation of funding on 8/14/09. First, a highly qualified individual (Rene Ranzinger) was recruited as a post-doctoral associate to take major responsibility for guiding and implementing the research. As Ranzinger will not be available until January 2010 due to previous commitments, a professional informatician (Srikalyan Swayampakula) was hired on a temporary basis to design and build the initial computational infrastructure required to achieve the goals of this research. In addition, a graduate student (Singaram Sundar) was offered a research assistantship (which he accepted) to work on this project. Swayampakula has initiated the design and implementation of the Web Portal that will support a major objective of the funded research, i.e., an international collaborative effort to develop high-throughput data processing pipelines for glycomics analysis. This includes primary web design and high-level design of the web portal's organization and data management scheme.
Jobs Summary: We have hired a new full-time Educational Program Specialist, Srikalyan Swayampakul, who recently began working on the project and also hired a new graduate assistant, Singaram Sundar. We have located another position to hire but the employee can not begin working in the position until early 2010. (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Aug. 14, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.