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Newly Built British Genomics Lab to Focus on Cancer

NEW YORK, April 17 - About five dozen genomic researchers this week have moved into a new genome-research center at the University of Sussex in southern England to study the genetic precepts of cancer development.

 

The center, funded by public and non-profit grants totaling £5.8 million, or roughly $8.4 million, will perform experiments in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and yeast genetics, according to Alan Lehmann, a professor at the university and chair of the new Genome Damage and Stability Centre.

He said that about 60 researchers from the area, including PIs, post-docs, PhDs, MScs, and technicians, will perform PCR experiments, sequence site-directed mutagenesis, perform cell culture experiments, and transfection, among other work, to learn how genetic damage influences cancer, particularly skin cancer.

Government and not-for-profit groups like the Joint Infrastructure Fund and the Wolfson Foundation helped build the facility, which is the first lab to be built on the University of Sussex campus in three decades, according to a spokeswoman.

The center will pocket an additional £9 million in grants over the next three to five years from groups like the Medical Research Council, the BBSRC, the European Union, Leukaemia Research Fund, Cancer Research UK, the UK Department of Health, and the Wellcome Trust.

 

In an e-mail message, Lehmann said that while the center has not locked in any private-sector support, "we would anticipate a modest amount of corporate sponsors in the future." He added that commercializing diagnostics or therapeutics developed at the center "is a medium to long-term goal."

 

The three-story building, still dusty as construction crews finish up work that began in January 2001, is adjacent to the university's School of Biological Sciences and is hoped to increase the links with faculty. Officials said they expect similar research links will be developed with the new Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.