The Salk Institute for Biological Studies will join Stanford University in leading a new Center of Excellence in Stem Cell Genomics, created through a $40 million award by California's stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
The center will bring together experts and investigators from seven major California institutions to focus on bridging the fields of genomics -- the study of the complete genetic make-up of a cell or organism -- with cutting-edge stem cell research.
The goal is to use these tools to gain a deeper understanding of the disease processes in cancer, diabetes, endocrine disorders, heart disease and mental health, and ultimately to find safer and more effective ways of using stem cells in medical research and therapy.
"The center will provide a platform for collaboration, allowing California's stem cell scientists and genomics researchers to bridge these two fields," said Joseph Ecker, a Salk professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator. "The center will generate critical genomics data that will be shared with scientists throughout California and the rest of the world."
Ecker, holder of the Salk International Council Chair in Genetics, is co-director of the new center along with Michael Snyder, a professor and chair of genetics at Stanford.
Salk and Stanford will lead the center, and the University of California San Diego, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, the Scripps Research Institute, the J. Craig Venter Institute, and Illumina Inc., all in San Diego, will collaborate on the project, in addition to UC Santa Cruz, which also will run the data coordination and management component.
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