SKOKIE, Ill. and SAN DIEGO, Feb. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc. (IDT), a leader in the development, manufacture, and marketing of nucleic acid products for the life sciences industry, announced today the winners of its third annual IDT Sustainability Award. The competitive award provides more than $50,000 in funding for novel research projects that have the potential to make a global impact in the area of biodiversity. This year's winning projects are from the University of Arkansas and Auburn University regarding endangered species; the University of California, Berkeley on landscape genomics; and Yale University for a study of the human microbiome.
Elizabeth Walder, IDT's Chief Sustainability Officer, said, "We are proud to recognize and reward innovation in biodiversity research through the IDT Sustainability Award program. The winning projects represent a broad array of studies that rely on IDT's nucleic acid products in key genomic applications of Next Generation Sequencing, CRISPR, and Synthetic Biology.
"The winners' research in this historically underfunded area could impact some of the biggest sustainability challenges of our time," Walder stated. "We are excited that IDT's products are empowering studies that contribute to worldwide efforts to minimize biodiversity loss, address environmental threats to plant life, and understand the influence of the microbiome on human health."
The IDT Sustainability Award Program is part of IDT's ongoing commitment to science advocacy and sustainability. The 2017 award competition, whose winners are being announced today, was open to researchers working on biodiversity projects in academic, non-profit, and government labs in the United States and Canada.
In addition to funding, the winners will be given the opportunity to present their work at a special event hosted by IDT to be held this summer at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. "The mission of the Shedd Aquarium includes global and local conservation research efforts such as their Microbiome Project, which studies the influence of microbiomes on the environment, animal health and endangered species," Walder noted. "The Aquarium is the perfect location to host the IDT Sustainability Award event that celebrates advances in biodiversity research."
"We were very pleased with the high caliber of the applications and the numerous ways researchers are using IDT's nucleic acid products to benefit biodiversity," said Mark Behlke, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at IDT. "Judging criteria included overall scientific impact, project feasibility, and the potential impact of IDT's genomics solutions on the project's success. The Selection Committee named first, second, and third place award recipients."
- Earning the top prize of $25,000 in IDT product credit are Marlis Douglas, Ph.D., and her collaborators, Tyler K. Chafin, Michael E. Douglas, Ph.D., and Max R. Bangs, Ph.D., for their project, "Novel method of long-read reduced-representation genomics to attain unprecedented phylogenetic resolution in endangered species." The researchers are affiliated with the University of Arkansas and Auburn University.
Conservation of endangered species increasingly relies on accurate genetic data to examine changes occurring to organisms. This project focuses on desert fish as a case study of a new method that uses IDT xGen® Lockdown® Probes to gain a previously unattainable understanding of genetic variations that could help minimize and reverse biodiversity loss.
- Angel Fernandez i Marti, Ph.D., at the University of California, Berkeley, will receive $18,000 in IDT product credit for studying, "Use of CRISPR methods to query genes important in pine trees relating to climate change."
Understanding how plants respond to drought and temperature stress is essential for addressing threats to biological diversity. This research involves a novel use of the IDT Alt-R® CRISPR-Cas9 System to study the ecology of long-lived plants. CRISPR-Cas9 is the system of choice due to its simplicity, design flexibility, and high efficiency.
- Jaymin Patel and Farren Isaacs, Ph.D., at Yale University will receive $10,000 in IDT product credit for their research, "Animating secondary metabolism using advanced synthetic biology technologies."
This proposal addresses gaps in our understanding of human microbiota diversity. IDT gene and oligonucleotide synthesis services will facilitate expression and analysis of gene clusters, which will not only advance knowledge of microbial metabolism and synthetic biology technologies, but also enable the discovery of novel, natural (metabolic) products.
The IDT Sustainability Award Program, which is in its third year, has grown each year in its geographic reach, award value, and number of applicants. Past award-winning research includes wide-ranging biodiversity projects from the role of methane oxidizing bacteria in limiting greenhouse gases to highlighting the importance of sustaining biodiversity in groundwater and seed banks, as well as the microbiomes of birds.
Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc. (IDT) develops, manufactures, and markets nucleic acid products for the life sciences industry in the areas of academic research, biotechnology, agriculture, medical diagnostics, and pharmaceutical development. The company's primary business is the production of custom oligonucleotides for molecular biology applications. IDT has developed proprietary technologies for genomics applications such as next generation sequencing, CRISPR genome editing, qPCR, and RNA interference. Through its GMP services, IDT manufactures products used in diagnostic tests for many forms of cancer and most inherited and infectious diseases. Serving over 100,000 life sciences researchers and producing over 65,000 nucleic acids daily, IDT is widely recognized as the industry leader in custom nucleic acid manufacture. The company serves its customers through direct sales in many countries and a network of international distributors. IDT's corporate headquarters is in Skokie, Illinois, USA. Its manufacturing headquarters is in Coralville, Iowa, USA, with additional manufacturing facilities in San Diego, California, USA; Leuven, Belgium; and Singapore.
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