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U Michigan Life Sciences Institute Establishes Chemical Genomics, Structural Biology Centers

NEW YORK, May 20 (GenomeWeb News) - The University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute announced last week the opening of two new centers of collaboration: The Center for Chemical Genomics and the Center for Structural Biology.


The announcement came during the LSI's grand opening convocation on May 14. According to Karl Bates, LSI's director of communications, CCG's primary focus will be on high-throughput screening of small molecules that perturb cellular function, "not so much for discovering drug candidates, but more to develop basic experimental tools to help look at cell physiology."


The center will employ both biochemical and cell-based assays, but CCG director David Sherman told GenomeWeb News that "there is more interest in developing methods for looking at whole cellular function."


Shermanalso said that the main instrumentation in the lab will consist of robotic equipment for combinatorial chemistry, sample handling, and extraction, as well as high-throughput screening platforms such as fluorescence plate readers. He added that CCG plans to "diversify and increase its screening and detection capabilities" in the future.


The CSB's focus will be to determine the shape and interactions of biological molecules, particularly proteins. It will consist primarily of a protein production facility and an X-ray crystallography lab.


The LSI, originally created in 1999 on the recommendation of the U Michigan Life Sciences Commission, spans a multitude of biological disciplines and serves as both a core research facility for Michiganresearchers and a collaborative center for other academic institutions.


The institute is currently recruiting researchers with a background in biology, engineering, and mathematics, with the ultimate goal of attracting 25 to 30 faculty members. Currently, the institute has 13 faculty members, six of which were originally recruited from U Michigan faculty a little over a year ago, according to Bates.

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