University of Washington

Courtesy of Joe Mabel, Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0

#3 - University of Washington
Fiscal 2013 NIH funding:
$454.27 million
Fiscal 2012 NIH funding: $458.67 million
Change in funding: -$4.4 million
Number of awards in 2013: 932
Number of awards in 2012: 916

Last year, University of Washington researchers joined investigators at Johns Hopkins University and Yale University to establish PhenoDB, an online database designed to help clinicians track and study cases of unusual genetic disorders. The database captures personal information such as health history, symptoms and appearance. Clinicians will be able to use the database to document cases of unusual genetic diseases, then researchers at Johns Hopkins or Baylor College of Medicine in Houston will choose which cases to investigate further.

Also in the area of genetics, University of Washington scientists last year identified 207 human genes that were expressed differently than normal soon after infection with the novel human coronavirus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome. MERS was first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since infected 180 people and killed 50, according to the World Health Organization. Using computational approaches, researchers found that certain classes of drugs, including specific kinase inhibitors and one type of glucocorticoid, act on some of the 207 identified human genes whose expression was found to be disrupted by this novel coronavirus (nCoV). The investigators think that such drugs might be able to block nCoV replication and disease progression in a host. In nCoV-infected cells grown in test tubes, they found that a kinase inhibitor successfully stopped the virus from replicating. Scientists and public health officials are worried that MERS could become a pandemic like SARS, which emerged in 2002 and in less than a year caused 8,273 cases and 775 deaths.

The University of Washington is also a well-known developer of diagnostics materials, and that notoriety attracted General Electric ($GE) last year when it was searching for an academic partner to produce a small, paper-based diagnostic tool to detect infectious diseases with a nasal swab. The disposable device is designed to diagnose methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium often found in healthcare settings like hospitals and nursing homes.

For more:
GE, U. of Wash. team up to make paper-based diagnostics device
New database could be a boon for genomics research

University of Washington

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