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'Omics Research to Play Role in Kansas' Planned $800M Bio-Med Thrust

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Kansas is planning a large-scale overhaul of its biomedical sector that would make the region “competitive with the nation’s finest regional life sciences networks,” a University of Kansas official said in a statement to be released tomorrow.
KU Medical Center spokeswoman Amy Jordan Wooden told GenomeWeb Daily News today that the center, along with officials from Kansas City, will unveil tomorrow an $800-million, 10-year program that will use proteomics, bioinformatics, genomics, and compound synthesis as central programs to support clinical research and treatment centers.
The plan calls for expanding bioinformatics by hiring new senior and programming-level researchers, by growing into new facilities, and through investing in new hardware and software platforms.
KUMC also will seek to fuel its high-throughput screening programs and to establish a drug-discovery program by hiring a director for HTS, bringing in other senior and junior faculty, and by laying down funds for new equipment. The HTS lab would be supported in part by contractual screening services.
The mass spectrometry and proteomics labs also will receive funding for new equipment and staff.
Under the plan, these equipment and staffing expansions will support several new or newly expanded clinical and medical research centers; including a Center for Personalized Medicine, and centers and programs for immunology, virology, obesity, integrative medicine, and other fields.
The plan also includes breaking ground on several new buildings and adding around 862,000 square feet of labs and other facilities to existing spaces. The initiative also would look to lure as many as 224 new researchers to staff the labs.
KUMC and Kansas City officials plan to use various funding streams, which they hope will be spurred by recent endowments that include part of the roughly $2 billion given to establish the Stowers Institute for Medical Research and $500 million from the State of Kansas.  
The funding also would include securing new grants and turning to pledges from the community.

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