Marija Drndic shares in $19M NIH Award

Grants of almost $19 million will help to develop technologies to dramatically reduce the cost of DNA sequencing, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today.  During the past decade, DNA sequencing costs have fallen dramatically (see, fueled by tools, technologies and process improvements developed by genomics researchers.  The use of nanoscale devices for sequencing, reflected in many of these projects, is accelerating.

To say that nanoscale devices function on a very small scale is an understatement. A human hair is 100,000 nanometers in diameter and a single strand of DNA is 2 nanometers in diameter.  Penn's Marija Drndic and Kenneth Shepard at Columbia University have received $500,000 in FY2012 (total $1.5 million over three years subject to the availability of appropriations) to develop much faster and more sensitive electronics to enable sequencing based on arrays of nanopores.  The award is just announced in an National Institutes of Health news release.