The National Institutes of Health has selected the laboratory of Neville Sanjana, an assistant professor in NYU’s Department of Biology and an assistant professor of neuroscience and physiology at NYU School of Medicine, for its “New Innovator” Award.
Professor Neville Sanjana, core faculty member at the New York Genome Center, assistant professor of biology, New York University, and assistant professor of neuroscience and physiology at NYU School of Medicine, with a Sanjana Lab team member. Image courtesy of the New York Genome Center.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has selected the laboratory of Neville Sanjana, an assistant professor in NYU’s Department of Biology and an assistant professor of neuroscience and physiology at NYU School of Medicine, for its “New Innovator” Award.
The grant will enable Sanjana, Core Faculty Member at the New York Genome Center, and his team to interrogate the noncoding regions of the genome, which is 98 percent of the human genome. Utilizing advanced genome engineering and high-throughput sequencing, the Sanjana Lab aims to identify the sequences and proteins that govern gene expression.
The award of nearly $2.9 million over five years will support the Sanjana Lab’s work in deciphering the logic of gene regulation through the development of new tools for targeted, precise modifications to the genome. These new genome engineering methods include techniques for denser coverage of noncoding regions, scaling up genetic screens, building multidimensional readouts of noncoding function, and identifying the DNA-binding proteins that are found near functional elements. Using this gene editing toolbox, the Sanjana Lab will test hypotheses that link sequence changes in noncoding regions to relevant biological phenotypes, such as therapeutic resistance in cancer and the development of cortical neurons during early embryogenesis.
In his proposal to the NIH, Sanjana described his long-term goal to construct a catalog of all functional elements in the noncoding genome and to map their interactions in healthy and disease states. His proposal leverages both established and newly-characterized CRISPR enzymes to build a platform for understanding how noncoding DNA and transcription factors come together in gene regulation. According to Sanjana, “Although our research into the noncoding genome is rooted in basic science questions, the aim is to generate clinically relevant and actionable discoveries regarding cancer evolution and treatment, as we have done previously with functional screens in the coding genome.”
Research detailed in this announcement is supported by the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health