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Ruggles Foundation Funds Omics Research at JCVI into Aging

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Ruggles Family Foundation, along with Mr. and Mrs. Rudy Ruggles, has made a $1.25 million donation to the J. Craig Venter Institute for research into biomarkers associated with healthy aging, the institute said today.

Under the four-year grant, JCVI in collaboration with the Western Connecticut Health Network will seek to identify and study biomarkers which may shed light on the healthy aging process. Two groups of participants between the ages of 65 and 85 will be studied, and their genetic information, as well as a variety of human genomic, gut microbiobe, and other omics data will be integrated with the individuals' health records.

One group will comprise of healthy individuals, and the other will comprise individuals who have been diagnosed with various health issues. The researchers will compare the microbiome and molecular profiles of the healthy group with the non-healthy group to identify candidate biomarkers with the goal of using the data to develop cost-effective, clinically relevant tests.

"The time is right for pursuing the complex question of healthy aging given the rapid advances in analytical technologies and the expanding knowledge of the human genome and microbiome and their interactions," Rudy Ruggles, 74, a physicist and adjunct professor at JCVI, and a participant in the study, said in a statement. "JCVI's capabilities in this realm are unparalleled, and I am confident that this groundbreaking study will expand materially the horizons of this area of fundamental understanding."

JCVI President Karen Nelson added, "JCVI's extensive knowledge in human genomics, comparative genomics and the human microbiome, coupled with the clinical expertise of WCHN, should result in new insights into healthy aging."