Program will kick off with a whole-genome search, and lead biomarkers will be further evaluated with another technology.

The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Pharmacy’s Center for Biomarker Research and Personalized Medicine has received a $4.5 million grant to detect schizophrenia methylation markers.

The first stage of the project involves a whole-genome search for methylation markers associated with schizophrenia, states Edwin Van den Oord, Ph.D., professor and director of the center, who will be the principle investigator. “To minimize false discoveries due to technical and sampling errors, the most promising methylation markers will be followed up in a second independent case-control sample using a different technology.” Samples to be used in the project were collected at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

The money was awarded under the “Grand Opportunities” program by the National Institute of Mental Health through the 2009 American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This is the second grant that the VCU has received under the ARRA; the first was awarded by the NHGRI to develop statistical methods for cost-effective biomarker studies.

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