Jacob Corn, the IGI’s scientific director of biomedicine, has received a New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant provides $1.5 million over five years to pursue high-risk, high-reward work that could have implications for human health.
The awards are among 86 announced today “to highly creative and exceptional scientists with bold approaches to major challenges in biomedical research,” according to the NIH announcement. The New Innovator program “supports unusually innovative research from early career investigators who are within 10 years of their final degree or clinical residency and have not yet received a research project grant or equivalent NIH grant.”
Corn will use CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to explore how cells recycle damaged parts, such as mitochondria or the endoplasmic reticulum. Called autophagy – basically, self-eating – the process is well-known for proteins, but not for much larger “organelles” inside the cell. Dysfunction in organelle autophagy has been implicated in diverse diseases, including neurodegeneration, lysosomal storage disorders and cancer.
“We will use a combination of next-generation genome editing, cellular biochemistry, and imaging to uncover the players involved in initiating and executing organelle autophagy programs, which could suggest new strategies to treat diseases associated with improper organelle autophagy,” Corn said.
$1.5 million ‘New Innovator’ grants to two young faculty members
Berkeley News | Robert Sanders | October 5, 2017