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30-Sep-2004 Press Release

Meg Bolton
713-798-4712
mmb@bcm.tmc.edu

Two BCM projects are landmarks on NIH Roadmap

HOUSTON -- (Sept. 30, 2004) -- Research efforts led by two 
Baylor College of Medicine researchers are landmarks in the 
National Institutes of Health Roadmap Initiative launched today.

One project under the direction of Dr. Wah Chiu, professor of 
biochemistry and director of the National Center for Macromolecular 
Imaging at BCM, and one project on self-neglect among the elderly 
population, directed by Dr. Carmel Dyer, BCM associate professor 
of medicine and director of the Harris County Hospital District 
Geriatrics Program, promise to make inroads into areas less 
researched at the national and local levels.

"With these new Exploratory Centers, we hope to remove roadblocks 
to collaboration so that a true meeting of minds can take place that 
will broaden the scope of investigation, yield fresh and possibly 
unexpected insights, and create solutions to biomedical problems that 
have not been solved using traditional, disciplinary approaches," 
said NIH Director Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni.

Chiu received a $1.85 million NIH planning grant to initiate a multi-
institutional and inter-disciplinary effort to establish a cyberspace 
infrastructure for understanding the fundamental mechanisms of molecular
complexes that make up the machinery driving the biological processes 
necessary to life.

"We want to see how these molecular complexes look, how they change
their structures as they perform their biological functions in the 
cell," said Chiu. Chiu is the principal investigator of the leadership 
team of the virtual Computational Center for Biomolecular Complexes. 
Other members include Drs. Helen Berman of the State University of New 
Jersey at Rutgers, Arthur J. Olson of the Scripps Research Institute in 
La Jolla, Calif. and Changrajit Bajai of The University of Texas at
Austin. 
Project overview

Dyer, whose grant focuses on defining and discovering the causes of
elder self-neglect, is principal investigator of the Consortium for
Research in Elder Self-Neglect of Texas. The $1.7 million planning
grant involves cooperation with Texas Adult Protective Services, NASA,
the Harris County Hospital District, the University of Texas Health
Science Center at Houston, the University of Texas Medical Branch in
Galveston and the University of Houston.

"This is the most common form of elder mistreatment," she said,
"yet we have no common definition for it and we do not know the
cause. We do know that those who suffer from it die at more than
double the rate of elders who do not neglect themselves." 
Project overview (http://www.bcm.edu/pa/nihcomputationalcenter.htm)

These initiatives are part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, a
series of far-reaching initiatives designed to transform the nation's
medical research capabilities and speed the movement of research
discoveries from the bench to the bedside.

For more information about the NIH Roadmap, please visit 
http://www.nihroadmap.nih.gov.