New Jersey awards Princeton grant for genomics research

Nov. 17, 2000 12:25 a.m.

The state of New Jersey awarded Princeton University a $700,000 grant to help develop its genomics research program and to build the University's capacity to attract further grants in that field.

The grant is part of a $6.5 million package of awards to fund biomedical and other high-tech research at six New Jersey research institutions. By putting in place the equipment and expertise researchers need to compete in applying for larger grants, the grant program aims to help New Jersey become a hub for high-technology industry.

"Academic research is instrumental in creating jobs, building businesses, boosting productivity, and saving lives," said Governor Christie Whitman. "New Jersey's research universities are a key part of the state's economic infrastructure. Investing in their capacity to conduct cutting-edge research will stimulate new discoveries that can strengthen our high-tech economy and benefit people all over the world."

With its grant money, Princeton intends to develop the technical infrastructure needed to perform basic research in the new science of genomics, particularly in the area of proteomics, which focuses on the study of cellular proteins that are important for normal cell function and a key element in the development of many diseases.

The university will use its funds to upgrade a fluorescence-activated cell-sorter, add a new mass spectrometer, hire skilled technicians to run the instruments, and establish a training program for graduate students. Building technical ability in proteomics will enable Princeton scientists to compete for research funds for which they previously have not had the technical capabilities needed to qualify.

The Governor's $165 million New Jersey Jobs for the New Economy initiative targets $10 million in the FY 2001 budget for university research in biomedical and other high-tech areas. The Commission earmarked $6.5 million to build research capacity at New Jersey's three public and three independent research universities and $3.5 million for matching funds to further enhance the institutions' ability to compete for federal research grants. This kind of program was proposed to the governor a year ago by the Edison Partnership, a group of academic, business and government leaders co-chaired by President Shapiro.

The other institutions awarded grants, which ranged from $233,000 to $2.6 million, were New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, Seton Hall University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.