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UAB, HudsonAlpha to Launch Center for Genomic Medicine

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology said today they have partnered to create a new research center that will seek to accelerate genomics discoveries and move them toward clinical practice.

The plan to create the UAB-HudsonAlpha Center for Genomic Medicine was approved by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees on June 13, and the final approval from HudsonAlpha's board of directors is expected later this summer.

The UAB-HudsonAlpha center will focus on using genomic and molecular approaches to study how diseases begin and advance, and will incorporate research findings into clinical studies seeking to predict and diagnose diseases and develop personalized therapies and cures, the partners said. It will formalize an ongoing collaborative relationship that has combined HudsonAlpha's genomics tools, know-how, and infrastructure with UAB's academic research and clinical medicine capabilities. The center will include a cross-section of scientists and physicians from UAB and HudsonAlpha spread across both campuses, the partners said.

Bruce Korf, chair of the UAB Department of Genetics, and Richard Myers, president and science director for HudsonAlpha, will co-direct the genomic medicine center, and the UAB genetics department will manage its administrative functions.

"We are going to be launching significant initiatives that will allow us to incorporate genomics into the fabric of our research at a higher level," Korf said in a statement. "This means more contracts, more grants, and more activity that will translate into new jobs and new discoveries."

Initially, the new partners will build research teams consisting of UAB scientists working in multiple disease areas that will integrate genomic information into their specialty areas.

The UAB-HudsonAlpha center also will conduct wide-scale genome sequencing to discover genes that are involved in diseases, and will start building a program to educate researchers and physicians how to incorporate genomic information into their studies or clinical practices, and to train graduate students and medical trainees.