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FOGARTY INTERNATIONAL CENTER ANNOUNCES AWARDS TO SUPPORT DRUG DISCOVERY RESEARCH

The Fogarty International Center (FIC) recently announced plans to fund two awardees, led by Dr. John Clardy of Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) and Dr. Mark Hay of Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA), as part of the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) program of the FIC. The awards are designed to augment efforts to identify new pharmaceutical compounds and agricultural agents from organisms in diverse biospheres, such as coral reefs, forests, and extreme environments. The awards will also assist in underwriting the cataloging of such organisms and the training of scientists, both in the United States and developing countries. Dr. Sharon Hrynkow, FIC acting director, says that the ICBG program works in close partnership with universities, pharmaceutical companies, and other nongovernmental organizations to identify novel compounds from natural sources that provide an important basis of new chemistry. Plants, animals, and microorganisms have provided chemical compounds that have been the source of the development of many new drugs. Dr. Clardy's team includes scientists at Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA), the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT (Cambridge, MA), the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI), the National Institute of Biodiversity (Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica), and the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (Cambridge, MA). The Harvard project will focus on underexplored organisms found in Costa Rica, for example, marine and soil bacteria, in an effort to identify compounds that may have the potential to treat a variety of human disorders. Dr. Hay's team includes scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA), the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (La Jolla, CA), the University of the South Pacific (Suva, Fiji), and the Bristol Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute (Princeton, NJ). The Georgia Institute of Technology project will seek chemical compounds found in marine bacteria and coral reef plants and invertebrates. Dr. …

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