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TIGR Gets $25 Million NIAID Contract for Pathogen Functional Genomics Center; Will Break Ground on New Facility in 2002

NEW YORK, Nov. 29 — The Institute for Genomics Research is creating a Pathogen Functional Genomics Resource Center with a $25 million, five-year contract from NIH’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The center is being housed in existing lab space in TIGR’s 100,000 square-foot Rockville, Md., facility until 2003, when work is expected to be completed on a $12 million, 60,000-square-foot building that TIGR will begin constructing on its campus early next year. 

TIGR said the near-term goals of the new center, which will ultimately occupy 15,000 square feet in the new facility, are to provide researchers with microarray and genotyping technology, access to clone sets, genomic DNA, and type strains. TIGR President Claire Fraser said that the center would also eventually provide proteomic analysis services and that TIGR scouts have begun evaluating various technologies that TIGR will purchase to equip the facility.

Fraser said that NIAID wanted to create a central resource to provide the pathogen research community with services such as reagents and training in techniques such as microarray analysis. “As the genomics field has progressed, all the people who are studying [pathogens] want access to genome sequences; they want access to tools that will allow them to use the genome,” Fraser told GenomeWeb.

“It’s going to be very much a customer-oriented facility,” she added. “We’re not actually going to be doing any research under the contract. It’s going to be much more about generating reagents and evaluating technologies to import into the center for other people.”

Fraser explained the importance of providing researchers with training in genomic analysis methods: “I see how new faculty coming into TIGR who don’t have training in genomics can feel overwhelmed and lost with everything that we have going on. How do you figure out what to do and how to do it? If it’s that difficult for people at TIGR, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for somebody at a university that doesn’t have a big genomic center.”

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