The editors of Bio-IT World honored Applied Biosystems and Christian-Albrechts University with a Bio-IT World 2008 Best Practices Award for ‘Basic Research R&D’. This award recognizes the achievement of researchers from the University Hospital of the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany, and Applied Biosystems, who developed methods and a best practice that led to the identification of a novel genetic variant in a gene not previously associated with Crohn’s disease, a complex disorder characterized by chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.
Bio-IT World’s Best Practices Award programme, which was established in 2003, recognizes teams for their novel use of technology to improve the efficiency and economics of R&D, drug discovery, and clinical research and trials.
The award programme is meant to bring broader awareness to the life science field’s most innovative best practices and encourage the sharing of information among the scientific community.
“The quality and breadth of the 2008 Best Practices Award competition surpassed all expectations,” said John Russell, executive editor of Bio-IT World. “Applied Biosystems and Christian-Albrechts University were recognized as one of the grand prize winners for developing an innovative pipeline for the identification of common susceptibility variants of functional significance for diseases.”
The research team tested DNA samples from patients with Crohn’s disease, comparing them with normal DNA samples using the Applied Biosystems SNPlex™ Genotyping System.
The researchers conducted a genome-wide association scan of approximately 20,000 ‘coding’ genetic variants that are thought to produce functional changes at the protein level. After ruling out false positives and cryptic functional variants, the genetic variants related to the disease were verified by other Applied Biosystems technologies, including the AB 3730 Genetic Analyzer and TaqMan® SNP Genotyping Assays.
Among the findings, the researchers identified a protein-coding genetic variation that provides evidence that an abnormal immune response to bacteria in the digestive tract may lead to the intestinal inflammation characteristic of Crohn’s disease.
“We are pleased that our collaboration with Professor Stefan Schreiber and the team at Christian-Albrechts University has been recognized with this prestigious Bio-IT World Award,” said Francisco De La Vega, scientific fellow at Applied Biosystems. “Working with outstanding scientists, Applied Biosystems is committed to establishing and sharing best practices and technologies to advance life science research.”
The results of this collaboration were published in the February 2007 issue of Nature Genetics. In addition, Bio-IT World will publish more information about this award-winning research in its July/August issue.