National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a grant for
the research project entitled "Optimal siRNA Design Based
on Whole Genome Thermodynamic Analysis" to start in September
2009. This continuing grant, with a total of $1,595,295
for up to four years, will be used to develop novel small interference RNA (siRNA) design software.
RNA interference (RNAi) is a natural phenomenon in
cells where siRNAs guide the recognition, inhibition and
potential degradation of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs),
resulting in the loss of their gene functions. RNAi is an
important molecular biology technology that can be used to
perform functional genomic studies. It is also suggested
that siRNAs can be used as drugs to stop oncogenes in
cancer cells or to fight off viruses. The two main goals
of this project are to create novel siRNA design software
that can select high quality, gene-specific siRNAs based
on the comprehensive thermodynamic analysis of an entire
genome and to validate the quality of the designed siRNAs
with RNAi experiments. The software developed under this
project will be made available from the download area in the
Complex Computation Lab website.
The official NSF award abstract for this project can be found at the NSF award database.