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Florida Pumps $80M into Miami Human Genomics Institute

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - The state of Florida has pledged $80 million to the Miami Institute for Human Genomics at the University of Miami as part of an effort to make the university’s downtown campus “an internationally renowned scientific research powerhouse,” UM said on Friday.
 
The institute, which opened in November and is part of the Miller School of Medicine, is focused on genomic studies of diseases and will focus on researching Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, and cardiovascular and other common diseases.
 
As GenomeWeb Daily News reported in November, IHG is supported by an initial $37 million in federal funds and an undisclosed amount from the Miller School. According to MIHG Director Margaret Pericak-Vance, much of the federal funding came from grants from the National Institutes of Health that the institute’s researchers brought with them from their previous research posts.
 
Pericack-Vance and her husband, Jeffrey Vance, were lured to UM from their jobs at Duke University’s Center for Human Genetics in early 2007. Jeffrey Vance is directing the Center for Molecular Genetics and Genomic Medicine, a part of the MIHG. 
 
The institute also houses a Center for Genome Technology and the Morris K. Udall Parkinson Disease Research Center of Excellence.
 
Pericak-Vance recently completed leading a study that has discovered a gene linked to multiple sclerosis that could potentially help develop a treatment for the disease, UM said in a statement.
 
The award was based on a recommendation from the economic development group Enterprise Florida to the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development. Enterprise Florida said that the Innovation Incentive Fund award will help create 300 new jobs that pay at least $62,000 per year.
 
The MIHG is planned to be a critical component of a research center in downtown Miami, and the announcement of the award was attended by Florida Governor Charlie Crist, State House Speaker Marco Rubio, and University of Miami President Donna Shalala.