BAR HARBOR — A five-year, $9,971,936 grant from the National Institutes of Health will establish a new Center for Precision Genomics at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX). The center is a major initiative involving several collaborating institutions, with the goal of finding solutions for life-threatening and genetically complex human diseases through new approaches to developing precision models of disease.
Jackson Laboratory President and CEO Edison Liu says the new Center is now possible thanks to the laboratory’s long-established expertise in mammalian genetics and disease modeling, paired with the human clinical samples, data and collaborations of the new JAX Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Conn.
“Ultimately,” Liu says, “the center will generate new disease modeling processes and pipelines, data resources, research results and models that will be swiftly shared through JAX’s proven dissemination pipelines to accelerate translation to medical benefit.”
The center will be the hub of an international, multidisciplinary team, including geneticists and genetics technology experts, molecular and computational biologists, clinical experts in specific disease areas and world leaders in the development of precision mouse models of disease. Collaborators include researchers from Emory University, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, University of California San Diego, Columbia University Medical Center, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, University of Massachusetts Medical School and University of California San Francisco.
JAX Professor Wayne Frankel, principal investigator of the grant, says, “In order to advance the paths to therapies for previously incurable diseases, we intend to embrace a full range of technologies from reliable yet cutting-edge technological platforms to ambitious high-risk, high-reward platforms that are required to get the job done.”
The new funding from the National Institutes of Health will serve as “start-up” funding for the new center over five years. The first year’s funding of $1,993,006 will launch six projects and will engage several JAX core scientific services, including a bioinformatics pipeline, to improve the precision of disease models and the efficiency of preclinical pipelines.
The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center. It employs 1,700 staff, and its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.