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Broad Institute, Novo Nordisk Foundation Launch Center to Study Genomic Mechanisms of Disease

NEW YORK – The Broad Institute and the Novo Nordisk Foundation said on Wednesday that they have launched the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Genomic Mechanisms of Disease, a research institute based at the Broad that will analyze genetic data for insights into mechanisms of disease.

The center, which is being supported by a grant of up to $47.5 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, will generate systematic datasets that will help researchers around the world understand how human genetic variants affect risk for common complex diseases. All datasets will be shared freely with the research community, the partners said.

The center will also aim to launch and facilitate collaborations between the Broad and researchers at Danish universities, with an initial focus on understanding type 2 diabetes and obesity, as well as mapping human gene regulation. The center's researchers plan to contribute to the road map of the International Common Disease Alliance and will work with investigators from other large-scale efforts, such as the Accelerating Medicines Partnership in Common Metabolic Diseases and the Impact of Genomic Variation on Function consortia.

"Starting with our roots in the Human Genome Project, the Broad community has long believed that international collaboration is critical to advancing our knowledge of human disease and getting benefits more quickly to patients," Broad Director Todd Golub said in a statement. "The Center for Genomic Mechanisms of Disease is a natural extension of our deep commitment to global collaborations but also our pursuit of foundational research."

The center will establish an exchange program to provide opportunities for Danish scientists to study genomic technologies at the Broad, the partners said. Research will be carried out at the Broad and at Danish institutions, with an associated exchange of scientists and dedicated training programs for Danish researchers.

The new center will be directed by Kasper Lage, an associate member at the Broad and associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. Lage, who is Danish, has helped to plan and develop the initiative since it was conceived in 2019.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has committed to supporting the center for an initial period of five years, the partners added, with the possibility of extending its support past 2026.