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Recovery Act: NIH Challenge Grants – Molecular Libraries Areas

NIH has received new funds for Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010 as part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), Pub. L. No. 111-5. The NIH has designated at least $200 million in FYs 2009 – 2010 for a new initiative called the NIH Challenge Grants in Health and Science Research.

This new program will support research on topic areas that address specific scientific and health research challenges in biomedical and behavioral research that would benefit from significant 2-year jumpstart funds.

The NIH has identified a range of Challenge Areas that focus on specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways. Each NIH Institute, Center, and Office has selected specific Challenge Topics within the broad Challenge Areas related to its mission. The research in these Challenge Areas should have a high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and/or public health.

NIH anticipates funding 200 or more grants, each of up to $1 million in total costs, pending the number and quality of applications and availability of funds. In addition, Recovery Act funds allocated to NIH specifically for comparative effectiveness research (CER) may be available to support additional grants. Projects receiving these funds will need to meet this definition of CER: “a rigorous evaluation of the impact of different options that are available for treating a given medical condition for a particular set of patients. Such a study may compare similar treatments, such as competing drugs, or it may analyze very different approaches, such as surgery and drug therapy.” Such research may include the development and use of clinical registries, clinical data networks, and other forms of electronic health data that can be used to generate or obtain outcomes data as they apply to CER.

The application due date is April 27, 2009.

Broad Challenge Areas and Specific Challenge Topics

15-OD-101 Mouse and Metabolic profiling of MLPCN Probes. Metabolic profiling of probes identified through the Molecular Libraries program ( Probes produced by the Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network have the potential to be important research tools. Often, however, a barrier standing in the way of utilization of the probe is the need for optimization and/or characterization to enhance its effects on physiology and pathophysiology. The challenge is to optimize the probes to achieve adequate bioavailability for use in animal models of disease to allow phenotypic profiling to assess the efficacy of the probe against an important target. The results of the work would increase the utility of the probes for identifying underlying mechanisms of disease, new potential therapeutic targets, and changes in gene expression in affected tissues.

Dr. Ron Margolis (NIDDK)
Dr. Dan Zaharevitz (NCI)

15-OD-102 Analysis of PubChem data sets. The Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network (MLPCN) implements high throughput screens for a number of biological targets and develops probe compounds from the results. The emphasis is on finding useful probes for a wide variety of targets rather than on an in depth investigation of each target or the interactions between them. The NIH will support projects based on MLPCN data available through Pub Chem ( that combine informatics, chemical synthesis and non-high-throughput biological testing to enable the scientific community to take full advantage of the ML resources.

National Human Genome Research Institute

Additional links for NIH Challenge Grants: