illuminating the druggable genome at UCSF- developing scalable technologies to uncover genomic dark matter

Genomic Dark Matter

The goal of the Illuminating the Druggable Genome (IDG) Program is to improve our understanding of the properties and functions of proteins that are currently unannotated within the four most commonly drug-targeted protein families: the G-protein coupled receptors, nuclear receptors, ion channels, and protein kinases. Currently, the pilot program aims to create a data resource center, the Knowledge Management Center (KMC) that will catalog known information about the four protein families and obtain additional information about their function(s) so that investigators can determine whether a given protein is of interest. In this way, the KMC will be used to identify and prioritize unannotated proteins for further study.


UCSF is the veritable Technology Development Hub of the IDG. Our objective is to establish transformative scalable technology platforms and streamlined experimental workflows incorporated with multiple robust assay and physiological perturbation protocols for large-scale functional studies of poorly characterized and/or un-annotated proteins encoded by the Druggable Genome. At UCSF, four teams have assembled to help annotate these four protein families: the McManus Lab, the Finkbeiner Lab, the Shoichet Lab, and the Kokel Lab. These teams are working together, collaborating with others in the IDG, and Knowledge Management Center (KMC) to uncover functions for human genomic dark matter.

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Unlocking the Genome

IDG began with a pilot phase that established the Knowledge Management Center (KMC) and a consortium of 7 projects for the Adaptation of Scalable Technologies to Illuminate the Druggable Genome (TechDev). The KMC was designed to develop an integrated informatics solution encompassing data accrual, data-driven prioritizations, storage, cataloging, analysis, and dissemination of standardized/annotated information related to the unannotated proteins in the four gene families of interest. The UCSF IDG works closely with the KMC and is a critical node within this incredible genomic initiative. We focus on the adaptation of scalable assays and technologies to enable deep annotation of the Druggable Genome.