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Rutgers is awarded $34.5 M. grant for research on 3D biomolecular structures of life

 – Photo by Photo by Nick Romanenko | The Daily Targum

Rutgers University—New Brunswick has been awarded a grant of $34.5 million for the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB) Protein Data Bank, which provides open-access data resources for 3D biomolecular structures of life, according to an article from Rutgers Today.

The money will be disbursed over five years and will be used for enhancing the services that the RCSB Protein Data Bank provides to researchers, academic institutions, companies and the public, according to the article.

The article stated that the grant is funded by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and National Institute of General Medical Sciences within the National Institutes of Health. 

University Professor and Henry Rutgers Chair Stephen Burley directs the data bank and the Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine. He said that the grant will contribute to lifesaving medical research and pharmaceutical development, according to the article.

“It is a public good with far-reaching impacts, and with renewed funding we plan to help usher in a new golden age of structural biology,” Burley said in the article. 

The article stated that the data bank’s 150,000 3D structures for proteins, DNA and RNA are used across disciplines, including agriculture, biology, biotechnology, bioenergy, computer science and math.

When a new structure is deposited into the bank, it is reviewed by a team of experts from Rutgers. The University is partnered with the University of California’s San Diego and San Francisco campuses to develop software tools for the data bank. 

The grant will be used to improve the quality of the structures deposited to the bank, according to the article. 

The RCSB Protein Data Bank was founded in 1971 and brought to Rutgers in 1998 by the Board of Governors Distinguished Professor Emerita of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Helen Berman, according to the article. RCSB is also a part of the Worldwide Protein Data Bank, which has data centers in Europe and Asia.