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Lindsay receives White House honors for 'Recovery Act' research

August 30, 2010

On behalf of the White House, ASU Regents Professor and Biodesign Institute researcher Stuart Lindsay, PhD, was honored for his innovative efforts to bring low-cost DNA sequencing to the masses.

Lindsay was one of many outstanding scientists who joined Vice President Joe Biden in a Washington gathering to coincide with the release of the Recovery Act Innovation Report. The report highlights contributions in new fields of investigation with a high likelihood of enabling growth and investment in biomedical research and development.

Making everyday DNA sequencing a reality

As part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“Recovery Act” or “ARRA”), the National Institutes of Health established a new program entitled Research and Research Infrastructure “Grand Opportunities,” or the “GO” grants program. Lindsay’s two-year, $1.7 million project, funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), supported work at ASU’s Biodesign Institute to boost research on rapid DNA sequencing technology.

Lindsay, director of the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Single Molecule Biophysics, was one of just seven researchers in the nation to receive funding to support his team’s efforts to develop low-cost DNA sequencing technology – an effort that promises to transform everyday medical care and research.

Lindsay’s research team utilizes carbon nanotubes to allow for vast stretches of DNA sequence information to be read in a single pass. Current technologies can only read about 1,000 chemical letters of the 3-billion-long human DNA chain at a time.

“While the costs of sequencing the complete DNA information of an individual have plummeted in recent years, from $1 billion to $1 million or less, the field is still very actively searching for a next-generation breakthrough technology,” said Lindsay, who also holds the Carson Chair in the department of physics. “Our goal is to simplify DNA sequencing to revolutionize medicine like the invention of the transistor changed electronics.”

The “Recovery Act” awards stimulated groundbreaking research in studies aimed at understanding the function of the human genome to lead to improvements in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human illness.

The NHGRI identified the development of next-generation technologies that can sequence a human genome for $1,000 or less as its Recovery Act Signature Project. In recent years, ASU has had several ongoing DNA sequencing projects funded by the NHGRI.

“We are very thankful for the NHGRI’s support to drive innovation in DNA sequencing technology and humbled in the recognition of our efforts by the White House,” said Lindsay.

Media contact:
Joe Caspermeyer,
(480) 727-0369