IMCB congratulates Byrappa Venkatesh on being awarded the inaugural “Bedside and Bench Grant” in collaboration with several clinicians in NUH, Singapore. The total grant of $1.67 million will be spread over a period of 3 years. The Bedside and Bench (B&B) Grant Call, launched in 2009, is jointly funded by the Biomedical Medical Research Council (BMRC) and the National Medical Research Council (NMRC). The aim of the Grant Call is to foster closer collaboration between scientists from basic science and clinical investigators, and to facilitate the translation of scientific discoveries in the laboratory to clinically useful and commercially viable applications that can make an impact on the healthcare system.
Prof. Venkatesh is the “Basic Science” Co-Principal Investigator collaborating with the “Clinical” Co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Tai E Shyong from the Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. Other collaborators of this project are Dr. Alice Tay and Dr. Sydney Brenner from IMCB; and Dr. Lee Yung Seng, Dr. Ng Peng Keat, Dr. Goh Li Meng, Dr. Teo Yik Ying and Dr. Sim Xue Ling from NUS. The main objective of the project is to investigate the use of functional genetic variants to understand the mechanism of chronic metabolic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia, and prioritize therapeutic targets for their treatment. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) and dyslipidemia are important causes of morbidity and mortality. In Singapore and most developed countries, T2D is the most important cause of end-stage renal failure, blindness and non-traumatic limb amputation. This study hopes to narrow down the region of interest for novel loci that have been previously identified in genome-wide association studies, sequence these regions in individuals selected from the extremes of the populations distribution of the trait, and then phenotype individuals who carry these rare variants with large effects (identified through genotyping of large populations already available in Singapore and recruiting their family members).
The results will help to ascertain the impact of these variants on the phenotype, and also look for evidence that modulation of the proteins involved in the disease pathways might be beneficial, and free of harmful side effects. These efforts will help prioritize the many novel proteins identified through genetic association studies for the development of therapies that target these pathways.