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UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute Receives $8.5M Gift

NEW YORK – The University of California, Santa Cruz has received an $8.5 million anonymous gift to support its Genomics Institute.

The gift, to be made in annual installments over 10 years, will establish the Healthier World Fund at the UCSC Genomics Institute. The funding will support a range of projects, including "genomics-based interdisciplinary efforts involving the social sciences, arts, humanities, engineering, and physical and biological sciences," UCSC said in a statement.

The pledge was made in partnership with UCSC  leaders, who have committed "one-time funding of $1.7 million for facility upgrades and moving costs associated with the relocation of the Genomics Institute … and $650,000 annually for the next 10 years to support the Genomics Institute's operating budget," the school said.

"It's a substantial step forward for us to have this kind of long-term funding," David Haussler, professor of biomolecular engineering and director of the Genomics Institute, said in a statement. "It feels like the culmination of 20 years of genomics work here at UC Santa Cruz."

UCSC's Genomics Institute hosts approximately 80 researchers and support staff and is involved in several major genomics and bioinformatics projects, including the UCSC genome browser; the Telomere-to-Telomere consortium; the Genome 10K Project, which aims to sequence the genomes of 10,000 vertebrates; and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's Human Cell Atlas.

The gift follows a major announcement that UCSC is co-leading a new human reference genome project funded by two new grants from the National Institutes of Health. Haussler and research scientist Karen Miga are leading the Human Reference Genome Sequencing Center, a consortium that recently received approximately $17 million over five years from the National Human Genome Research Institute. This center will work closely with the new $12.5 million Human Genome Reference Center consortium, which is led by Washington University in St. Louis but also includes UCSC.