With funding provided by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, OHSU has taken a big step toward the creation of the planned Integrated Genomics Center. The Trust provided a $475,000 grant to help purchase a "Next generation" DNA sequencer to serve as the crown jewel of the center.
The Illumina Genome Analyzer IIx (GAIIx) nucleotide sequencer which arrived this week will give OHSU investigators a vastly improved ability to identify genetic mutations that lead to individual variations in responses to treatment and disease. The new sequencer will also expand OHSU capabilities for transcriptome analysis, small RNA discovery, and epigenomic studies.
Two orders of magnitude faster than the systems used to sequence the human genome, the GAIIx will support research on a wide range of disease types, including cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, substance addiction, and more. This platform anticipates impending advances during the next decade that will enable the routine, rapid characterization of individual patients' genomes and the development of customized therapies for their specific genetically based health issues. The GAIIx is an important element of OHSU's infrastructure in both genomic analysis and bioinformatics.
The new Massively Parallel Sequencing University Shared Resource will be directed by Robert Searles, PhD, with an anticipated opening date of January, 2010. The facility will reside in the Integrated Genomics Center alongside the Gene Microarray Shared Resource. The new Center, under the leadership of Chris Harrington, PhD, with Dr. Searles serving as the Associate Director for Informatics, will provide coordinated services for genomic studies on campus.
The instrument has been identified as a key factor in several important pending recruitments. Both the sequencer and Center were identified as top priorities for the $100 million "faculty fundraising" initiative now underway at the OHSU Foundation and represent an early success for that initiative.
Robert Hitzemann, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, led the process to apply for funds from the Murdock Trust. Rae Rosenberg, MPH, OHSU Foundation, provided guidance in that process. Susan Hayflick, MD, Professor and interim Chair, Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics, is leading the internal effort to develop the administrative and organizational structure for the Integrated Genomics Center. A G-20 application for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to renovate physical space in Richard Jones Hall for the proposed Center was submitted last month.
Pictured: Dr. Searles with the new sequencer