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University of Miami Opens Genomics Center

This article has been updated to include details on the center's current technology capabilities.
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - The University of Miami opened a new genomics institute on the school’s South Campus yesterday that will focus on researching Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, and cardiovascular and other common diseases.
Backed by an undisclosed amount of funding from UM’s Miller School of Medicine and in $37 million in federal funds, the Miami Institute for Human Genomics includes several research centers but has two main components: the Center for Genomic Medicine and the Center for Genome Technology.
As GenomeWeb Daily News reported last year, the institute will be led by Margaret Pericak-Vance, who formerly was director of Duke University’s Center for Human Genetics. Jeffrey Vance, who was assistant director at the Duke center, will direct the Center for Molecular Genetics and Genomic Medicine.
The Center for Genomic Medicine is anchored by a biorepository of blood, tissue, and fluid samples representing DNA from more than 25,000 individuals. This facility is made available to all researchers and collaborators at the university.
The Center for Genome Technology will conduct genotyping, sequencing, variant detection, and microarray analysis.
Currently, the center is using three Illumina BeadStations; a Solexa Genome Analyzer; a Sequenom MassArray; an Applied Biosystems 3730 XCL and a 3130 XL; an ABI 7900 Taqman; Nimblegen’s Gene Expression Array; three Tecan liquid handling stations; an Affymetrix GeneChip; and an Agilent Technologies’ gene expression system.
The institute, which already employs a staff of around 100, is currently conducting a study of 800 families with autism spectrum disorder that is aimed at identifying genes that contribute to the disease.
The institute also houses the Morris K. Udall Parkinson Disease Research Center of Excellence, which is focused on genetic screening for Parkinson’s and so far has identified “close to half of the confirmed susceptibility genes in Parkinson’s disease to date,” Vance said in a statement.
The MIGH also expects to conduct research collaborations with other UM researchers, as well as those at other schools, including the University of Florida, Florida International University, and Florida Atlantic University.

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