MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
This administrative supplement will support ongoing research undertaken by Dr. Elba Serrano's NMSU team of students and professional scientists as part of the current Cell Decision Process award. The long term goal of this research is to uncover and model networks and processes that underlie life and death decisions in cells of vestibular and auditory organs of the inner ear. This subproject is motivated by the expectation that systems approaches can be used to identify molecular targets for drug action when inner ear organs are exposed to chemical agents that have the potential either to destroy inner ear cells or stimulate their regeneration, e.g. antibiotics and antineoplastic agents. To this end the Serrano team is pursing two interrelated aims: 1) to expand the queriable Encyclopedia of Molecular Targets (EMoT) database to include the effects of therapeutic drugs on organ systems (inner ear, kidney, brain) in order to model drug action; 2) to develop an organ system to test predictions that arise from EMoT queries regarding the putative effects of therapeutic drugs on molecular targets in sensory hair cells and supporting cells of the inner ear. The administrative supplement is intended to accelerate progress on both aims by providing the resources necessary to recruit individuals for the research team who are members of groups underrepresented in the sciences. The supplement will provide salary support for a doctorate seeking graduate student entering her third year, and for new job creation for an MS level science specialist. Aim 1 will be accelerated by the participation of a graduate student with training in biology and computational science. This student will develop predictive models for hypothetical mechanisms of drug action on inner ear systems. During portions of this research, the graduate student will work collaboratively with Cell Decision Process members (for example in the Sorger lab). Aim 2 will be accelerated by the creation of a new position for an M.S. level science specialist. This individual will expedite progress on ongoing experiments that use genetic approaches (microarray, pyrosequencing) to identify genes whose products can serve as molecular targets for drug action when inner ear organs are exposed to therapeutic drugs such as gentamicin. Because New Mexico State University is a Hispanic-serving minority-majority institution in an IDeA state, this administrative supplement is expected to contribute to NIH's mandate to increase and diversify the biomedical research strength of the nation.