Grant will create Center for Genomically Encoded Materials at Yale

A logo for the Center for Genomically Encoded Materials.

Yale chemist Alanna Schepartz has received a three-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to create the Center for Genomically Encoded Materials (C-GEM). C-GEM is a newly established (Phase 1) NSF Center for Chemical Innovation and the very first Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCI) grant awarded to Yale.

The grant includes Yale faculty members Farren Isaacs, Dieter Söll, and Jeffrey Townsend, as well as Jamie Cate at University of California-Berkeley. The C-GEM team seeks to engineer the cell’s protein-making machinery — the ribosome and its associated translation factors — to prepare novel chemical polymers.  Such “sequence-defined polymers” represent a fundamentally new form of chemical matter, with great potential for the development of new medicines, industrial materials, information storage systems, and strategies for environmental hazard clean up.

In addition to supporting research, the Phase I CCI includes funds to educate and train cross-disciplinary scientists and create novel data management systems to facilitate cross-disciplinary and cross-institution research.  “This center will work on exciting chemistry at the forefront of the field,” said Angela K. Wilson, director of the NSF Division of Chemistry. “We look forward to the developments that will ensue from this CCI.”

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