The National Institutes of Health has selected Associate Professor Sarath Chandra Janga, Ph.D., in the Department of Biohealth Informatics, Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) at IUPUI, to serve a four-year term as a standing member of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Molecular NeuroGenetics (MNG) Study Section.
The National Institutes of Health is the nation’s medical research agency and the largest source of funding for medical research in the world. Study sections review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on these applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science. These functions are of great value to medical and allied research in the United States.
“I am very honored by this recognition of my expertise in cutting-edge technologies emerging in genomics, bioinformatics, and data science, and the opportunity to contribute to one of the most rigorous and fundamentally important processes of the NIH,” Janga said. “This puts SoIC and IUPUI on the map as a contributor to the national biomedical research effort and gives me an opportunity to view and assess top-quality research. I believe this will help me to not only provide critical input for improving the research quality in neurogenetics on the campus but also advise various colleagues in employing interdisciplinary, data-driven skills to address fundamental problems in a wide range of fields from psychiatry to radiology.”
Neurogenetics studies the role of genetics in the development and function of the nervous system and focuses in particular on how the genetic code carried by an organism affects its expressed traits. Mutations in this genetic sequence can have a wide range of effects impacting neurological diseases, behavior, and personality. The field of neurogenetics emerged in the mid to late 20th century and currently is the center of much research utilizing cutting-edge techniques.
The director of the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review, Noni Byrnes, said, “You have been nominated because of your demonstrated competence and achievement in your scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of your research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements, and honors. Service on a study section also requires mature judgment and objectivity as well as the ability to work effectively in a group, qualities we believe you will bring to this important task.”
In addition to his work with the NIH, Janga’s pioneering work on RNA regulatory processes and RNA-protein interactions is supporting by multiple NIH and NSF grants, the U.S-Indo collaboration forum, as well as an LRAP award from the Lilly Research Award Program to dissect the role of RNA-mediated alterations in health and disease. Janga’s lab works at the interface of multidisciplinary sciences employing both experimental and computational methods to develop novel technologies for studying cellular systems, with most recent work diversifying into medical informatics by employing retinal imaging data to study the early onset of diabetic retinopathy and various retinal diseases. Work led by his lab in collaboration with ophthalmologists and molecular biologists at IU is supported by a pilot grant from the Artificial Intelligence Institute on the IUPUI campus.