Crohn's Disease Researcher Wins Gene Sequencing Grant
Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist Steven Brant, M.D., has received a corporate in-kind grant to further his research into the genetics of Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder that tends to run in families and afflicts an estimated 500,000 Americans.
The in-kind, competitive grant, awarded by Quintiles-owned Expression Analysis and Illumina, companies that develop and commercialize new genomic technologies, tests and other services, is worth nearly $250,000, the corporations say, and will provide genomic sequencing and other gene analyses to Brant’s laboratory.
Illumina is based in San Diego and Expression Analysis in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Quintiles is a publicly traded research and testing company. Brant has no financial or consulting relationship with Quintiles or the companies it owns.
Since 1996, Brant has worked to unravel the genetic causes of Crohn’s, an often-debilitating disease, and his goal is to identify genetic variations that contribute to the disorder.
The sequencing material and analytics from Quintiles will enable Brant and his team to examine and compare differences in genetic mutations, gene regulation and gene expression in immune system cells isolated from family members with Crohn’s disease, from their relatives who do not, Brant says.
Assisting Brant in this study are Claire Simpson, Ph.D., and Joan Bailey-Wilson, Ph.D. of the National Human Genome Research Institute, a branch of the National Institutes of Health; and Dermot McGovern, M.D., Ph.D., MRCP, of Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Brant, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the director of the Meyerhoff Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, is one of two recipients of the in-kind grant, given annually to competing researchers, and the only U.S. grantee. Brant has been on the faculty as part of the Gastroenterology Division at Johns Hopkins since 1992. He holds a joint appointment in the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has authored more than 90 scientific papers, and has contributed to several book chapters. He serves as an associate editor for genetics for the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.