Kansas University continues to grow its research portfolio.
KU is one of nine institutions that will split $280 million in research funding over the next four years - with planned, but not guaranteed, additional funding for two additional years, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The research will focus on determining what proteins are created by genes and what those proteins do. If all six years of funding are approved, KU will receive $20.2 million, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, which is one of two organizations that will monitor the grant.
"The genomics research we've done (in the past) has provided all this information about thousands of genes in the genome and the proteins that are created by the genes; the problem is finding out what they do," said Charlotte Armstrong, a NIMH spokeswoman.
For the purposes of this research, KU is considered a specialized chemistry screening center, meaning university researchers will take research done by another participating university and refine it to the point that researchers have a better idea of what the protein does.
In the long term, Armstrong said, the idea would be to find molecules that could interact with proteins and perhaps provide therapy to those who are sick.
Jeffrey Aube, professor of medicinal chemistry, is listed as the principal investigator for this project, NIH said.
KU, which is planning an event Monday morning to formally announce a large research grant, would neither confirm nor deny that it had received this award, said university spokeswoman Jill Jess.
Armstrong said many universities were planning to wait until Monday to announce their funding. Other institutions receiving funding include: The Burnham Center for Chemical Genomics, Broad Institute Comprehensive Screening Center, National Institutes of Health Chemical Genomics Center, The Comprehensive Center for Chemical Probe Discovery and Optimization at Scripps, Johns Hopkins Ion Channel Center, University of New Mexico Center for Molecular Discovery and The Vanderbilt Specialized Chemistry Center for Accelerated Probe Development.