Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Functional Element Characterization Centers (UM1)

Notice Number: NOT-HG-15-035

Key Dates
Release Date:   September 11, 2015
Estimated Publication Date of Announcement:  November 2015 
First Estimated Application Due Date:  February 2016 
Earliest Estimated Award Date:  December 2016 
Earliest Estimated Start Date:  December 2016 

Related Announcements
NOT-HG-15-034
NOT-HG-15-036
NOT-HG-15-037    

Issued by
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

Purpose

The National Human Genome Research Institute intends to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to enhance the catalog of functional elements in the human and mouse genomes previously developed by the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) Project by creating a set of well-characterized and validated functional elements in healthy and disease states, and to obtain an understanding of the utility and generalizability of functional characterization approaches.  

This FOA will be one of four FOAs planned in functional genomics to expand the catalog of functional DNA sequence elements, move beyond cataloging towards understanding the functional role of genomic elements in specific biological contexts, develop strategies to apply these studies to disease research, increase the number of scientists from the research community contributing to the creation of the encyclopedia of functional elements, develop analytical tools to enhance the utility of the data and make the data, tools, analyses and assembled encyclopedia freely available to the research community. (See also NOT-HG-15-034; NOT-HG-15-036; NOT-HG-15-037.)  For more information, see Concepts approved by National Advisory Committee for Human Genome Research:  http://www.genome.gov/Pages/About/NACHGR/May2015AgendaDocuments/Concept_Clearance_Functional_Genomics_Initiatives_5-8-15.pdf.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects. 

The FOA is expected to be published in the Fall of 2015 with an expected application due date in the Winter of 2016.

This FOA will utilize the UM1 (Research Project with Complex Structure -- Cooperative Agreement) activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

The goal of the intended FOA is to employ multiple approaches to test candidate elements in specific biological contexts to validate and characterize functional activities.   Functional characterization and validation of candidate functional elements is an inherently broad endeavor given multiple scales of function (e.g., molecular, organismal), the dependence of function on context (e.g., cell fate/state, organismal environment, disease) and the variety of functional elements (e.g., enhancer, promoter, splice site).  Multiple approaches are likely needed because of their different capabilities with respect to throughput, scale of function and types of function. 

The focus will be to develop and test strategies that could be broadly applied by the community, and to begin to ask how to make better predictions of function, rather than to cover the entire catalog of candidate functional elements in all cell contexts.  Applicants will define the cell systems/context for in-depth studies. Studies of specific diseases using relevant cell sources are especially encouraged and information that is learned from applying different functional assays in disease studies will be used to develop a general strategy to apply these approaches to disease in the long run.  

APPLICATIONS ARE NOT BEING SOLICITED AT THIS TIME.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Elise A. Feingold, Ph.D
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
Telephone: 301-496-7531
Email:  elise_feingold@nih.gov