September 2014, The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has awarded a contract to Cofactor Genomics to identify sites of epigenetic modifications contributing to cardiovascular disease endpoints such as resistant hypertension and coronary calcification across a large cohort. This work will support the goals of the NHGRI/DIR Cardiovascular Disease Section (CDS) and NHGRI/DIR Social Epidemiology Research Unit (SERU).
DNA methylation (a biochemical process where a methyl group is added to the cytosine or adenine DNA nucleotides) is a primary mechanism of epigenetic modification. Currently, bisulfite treatment of methylated DNA followed by next-generation sequencing (Methyl-Seq) is the gold standard experimental technique for analysis of DNA methylation. Methyl-Seq experiments can focus either on the whole genome or on specific regions of the genome known to be affected by DNA methylation (the methylome).
Epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation have been implicated in cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis. DNA methylation polymorphisms may be used as an early biomarker of atherosclerosis since they are present before lesions are observed, which may provide an early tool for detection and risk prevention. Therefore, these experiments represent an essential component of the NHGRI/DIR Social Epidemiology Research Unit (SERU) study aimed at in-depth cardiovascular phenotyping.
“Because Cofactor evolved out of our experience working on the Human Genome Project, we’re excited to be working on such a great project with broad human health potential. Through Cofactor’s growth we have been building out our capacity to better serve our industry clients with their larger scale projects in recent years. This NIH awarded project offers us a public opportunity to highlight our team’s capabilities to contribute to discoveries important in human health.” said Cofactor’s CEO Jarret Glasscock.
Cofactor Genomics is a privately held biotechnology company founded in 2008 after the completion of the Human Genome project by Technology Development Scientists from Washington University’s Genome Center in Saint Louis, MO. Cofactor is committed to translating next-generation sequencing based technologies into stable and complete end-to-end product solutions through R&D developments that combine molecular, sequencing, and bioinformatics. Cofactor Genomics is the market leader in RNA based products and services in the rapidly expanding functional genomics market.