TNRF efforts over the past five years have made a significant impact on the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP). However, RNAi screening has its limitations, and newer technologies, in particular CRISPR/Cas9-based gene-editing approaches, can help address some of these limitations.
The goals of TNRF are to:
- Collaborate with NIH investigators to perform genome-wide and targeted RNAi and CRISPR screening projects (assay development, screening and validation) to:
- Understand fundamental biological mechanisms.
- Accelerate target discovery for therapeutic development.
- Develop methods that advance the science of functional genomics screening and informatics.
- Perform education and outreach to increase awareness of TNRF tools and methods.
- Pursue new and complementary technologies for exploring gene function.
Thus far, CRISPR screens have been performed primarily within an individual laboratory setting, where expertise exists — for example, when employing a pooled library approach with a simple phenotype such as cell survival. However, there is an increasing need for NIH IRP investigators to access robust, reproducible and flexible CRISPR/Cas9-based high-throughput screening (HTS) workflows that are compatible with the assessment of more complex phenotypic assays.
Technical challenges associated with the development and implementation of these more complex screens are a barrier for most individual laboratories. Investment in CRISPR/Cas9-based screening platforms within TNRF will enable the NIH IRP community to access state-of-the-art functional genomic resources beyond RNAi. Learn more about the work of TNRF in action.