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U. of California Gets $100M to Integrate Genomics Disciplines

NEW YORK, Dec 8 – The new Institute for Bioengineering, Biotechnology and Quantitative Research (QB3) in California will bring together researchers from different disciplines at three University of California campuses in an effort to encourage a multi-disciplinary approach to biomedical research, M.R.C. Greenwood, the University of California, Santa Cruz chancellor said on Friday.

“Researchers are being pulled together in one conceptual center and their strengths will be brought together,” Greenwood said.

On Thursday, California Governor Gray Davis announced that the state had awarded UCSC, UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco a total of $100 million over the next four years to beef-up their genomics research centers. The grants will be met 2-for-one by private and federal funds.

The money will be used by UCSC to expand and strengthen its bioinformatics facility, while Berkeley will invest the money in its structural and chemical biology facilities and San Francisco will use funds for center for bioengineering and biotechnology.

David Haussler, a co-director of QB3, said there would be opportunities for the three campuses to create joint courses and for students and researchers to form joint collaborations.

“You need to work together in multidisciplinary teams,” he said. “You have to find new approaches to the new science for the new medicine.”

QB3 will be headquartered at UC San Francisco and will focus on developing techniques for storing and analyzing large quantities of information and developing ways for visualizing cells and single organ systems.

Haussler said that as a result of the influx of funds UCSC was now looking to fill six new faculty positions in such fields as bioinformatics, microarrays and microfluidics, and molecular biology and chemistry. The institute’s bioinformatics and analysis of complex biological systems module will be housed in a new physical sciences building at UCSC.

It was not immediately clear how many new positions would be created at the Berkeley or San Francisco campuses.

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