EGRP News Flash - February 25, 2008

Request for Applications Announced for Comparative Systems Genetics of Cancer

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), in collaboration with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), has announced a Request for Applications (RFA) for grant applications for research projects (R01s) focused on the development and application of comparative (cross-species) systems genetics approaches to address key cancer-relevant problems. Proposals are sought for research projects that will use these approaches to enhance the understanding of the mechanisms that underlie (1) human cancer susceptibility and (2) heterogeneity of human tumors.

To meet these two goals, proposed projects are expected to involve appropriate interdisciplinary collaborations providing expertise in such areas as human genetics, statistical genetics, model organism genetics, systems biology, mathematical or computational modeling of biological processes, and computer sciences. All projects are required to propose use of two species, one of which must be human, and projects must adhere to the cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG™) standards.

Examples of research topics for investigation may include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • Characterize the genetic networks that produce the variable manifestations of a specific human cancer;
  • Integrate available genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and model organism genetic data into a testable, system-level model of a specific human cancer;
  • Determine mechanisms of genetic perturbations by environmental factors in a specific human cancer
  • Evaluate data models that incorporate genetic and environmental factors to refine phenotypes that enable subcategorization of a specific human cancer;
  • Develop and test data models that account for the interaction of genotype and environment in determining phenotypic responses to the environment that may be related to human cancer;
  • Determine the influence of genetic variation on systems-level responses to environmental factors relevant to cancer in humans;
  • Understand mechanisms of perturbations of pathways implicated in environmentally induced diseases;
  • Develop and test models to predict toxicological responses in highly connected genes and disease pathways that are evolutionarily conserved; and
  • Understand susceptibility to toxic compounds in model organisms and humans.

NCI intends to commit about $3 million per year for up to 5 years to fund four to six individual multidisciplinary research programs. The NCI sponsors are EGRP, which is part of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), and the Division of Cancer Biology (DCB).

Programmatic inquiries may be directed to: Mukesh Verma, Ph.D., Chief, Methods and Technologies Branch (MTB), EGRP, NCI; Cheryl Marks, Ph.D., Associate Director, DCB, NCI, e-mail:; and Kimberly McAllister, Ph.D., Program Administrator, NIEHS, e-mail:

Read the complete RFA, RFA-CA-08-017External Web Site Policy, in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.

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