back to news May 3, 2019

Microbiology professor awarded $1.9 million NIH grant

Igor Jouline, the Rod Sharp Professor in the Department of Microbiology, has received a $1.9 million grant from the Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA) program of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The five-year grant provides flexible, long-term funding for Jouline's research program, which focuses on understanding how living cells detect and transmit signals.

Signal transduction is critical for regulating complex behaviors, such as navigation, memory and development in organisms ranging from bacteria to humans. Jouline’s group applies computational approaches to reveal molecular mechanisms and evolutionary trends in signal transduction. Their research is fundamental but it also has medical implications, considering aberrant signaling in human cells leads to many diseases, including cancer, and signaling pathways in both bacteria and humans are targets for drug design.

The MIRA grant provides an additional year of funding compared to regular National Institutes of Health grants and supports the investigator's overall research program rather than one specific project. The goal of MIRA is to increase the efficiency of NIGMS funding by providing investigators with greater stability and flexibility, thereby enhancing scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs.

This award will enable Jouline’s group to pursue a new line of research in addition to their work on bacterial signal transduction: understanding the consequences of mutations in human genes using evolutionary information and computing.

"The freedom to follow the most promising scientific route is the great advantage provided by the MIRA grant," Jouline said. "And with world-class molecular biosciences, the Wexner Medical Center and the Supercomputer Center all on one campus, Ohio State is the perfect place for this type of research."

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