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Grant Abstract

Grant Number: 5U01TW006674-02
PI Name: Ilya Raskin
Project Title: Building New Pharmaceutical Capabilities in Central Asia

Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The Central Asia ICBG program will facilitate the development of the natural product-based pharmaceutical capabilities in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan while encouraging biodiversity conservation and exploration, building research and economic capacity, developing ecologically-sustainable harvesting means and enhancing training and international cooperation. Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan possess diverse and largely unexplored biodiversity spread over a wide range of climatic zones. The program will integrate wide-ranging, state-of-the art, multiple-target screens performed by five separate groups with powerful structural and analytical approaches designed to characterize and develop therapeutic agents produced by plants, fungi and prokaryotes from Central Asia. The program will build upon a well-developed, longstanding cooperation between the scientists in the participating countries and Rutgers University, which is supported by comprehensive legal agreements. Human diseases relevant to this region will be purposely targeted, involvement of the local scientists actively encouraged and the ethnobiological knowledge upheld. Care will be taken to assure equitable benefit sharing and biodiversity treaties compliance. The screens associated with the proposed ICBG program will encompass 10 major therapeutic areas and close to 60 specific disease-related human targets and pathogenic microorganisms. The program will generate 108,000 prokaryotic, 10,260 plant and 6,000 fungal samples for the primary phase of these screens. A comprehensive training and bioinformatics initiative, made possible through major matching funds from Rutgers University and University of Illinois, will strengthen the research and development component of the program and further increase its impact on biodiversity preservation and inventory.

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