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UT Southwestern researcher wins NIH New Innovator Award to study DNA’s 3D structure

Jian Zhou, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Jian Zhou, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in UT Southwestern’s Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics, recently received $1.5 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use artificial intelligence to investigate the three-dimensional structure of DNA. The New Innovator Award that Dr. Zhou received is part of nearly $9 million in highly competitive NIH Director’s Awards received by UT Southwestern researchers from the NIH Common Fund’s High-Risk, High-Reward Program.

Dr. Zhou, a Lupe Murchison Foundation Scholar in Medical Research, developed computational tools to better understand the interactions that underlie the organization of chromatin – the three-dimensional complex that forms when chromosomal DNA is wrapped around protein spools called histones. The groundbreaking work Dr. Zhou has undertaken at UTSW – inventing entirely new ways to computationally analyze large biological datasets – isn’t often funded by the NIH because the research has little precedent, making it a perfect fit for the New Innovator Award.

Read more about Dr. Zhou’s research award. 

Zhou lab

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