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LA BioMed to Launch Genomics Institute

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute said on Wednesday that it is launching a new institute that will use a genome-based approach to pursue translational research aimed at the diverse populations of the Los Angeles area.

The LA BioMed Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences will focus its efforts on using genomics to address the healthcare needs of the Hispanic, African-American, and Asian populations that are served by LA BioMed and the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

The institute will include a Center for Personalized Medicine and Pharmacogenomics and three population centers, with each focusing on one of the specific minority groups.

LA BioMed also said that it has hired Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Jerome Rotter to found the new institute.

Rotter currently is director of research and co-director of Cedars Sinai's Medical Genetics Institute and director of the Division of Medical Centers and the Common Diseases Genetics Program.

Rotter's research has specialized in looking at the genetics of disease like diabetes and hypertension in Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asians to develop personalized treatments these populations.

"Our job is to bring modern genomic technologies to the understanding of disease, the prevention of disease, and the development of therapies for disease in minority populations," Rotter said in a statement. "There is no better place for us to conduct our research than LA BioMed, where we will have access to a diverse population group, the extensive expertise of the campus investigators in clinical research, and a supportive research environment."

Three of Rotter's colleagues from Cedars-Sinai are joining him in launching the new institute, and all of them will hold joint appointments at LA BioMed and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center's Department of Pediatrics.

Rotter's partners in the new effort include Ida Chen, who will direct the institute's Laboratory for Biochemistry, Molecular Phenotyping, and Microarrays; Xiuqing Guo, who will direct the Laboratory of Statistical and Mathematical Genetics; and Kent Taylor, who will direct the institute's Laboratory for Molecular Genomics, Bioinformatics, and High-Throughput Genotyping.