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SciLifeLab to Expand in Uppsala

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Swedish life sciences research center SciLifeLab will use SEK 177 million ($26.8 million) in funding from Uppsala University and the Swedish academic real estate company Akademiska Hus to expand its labs at Uppsala Biomedical Center.

SciLifeLab is a collaboration between Stockholm University, the Karolinksa Institute, the Royal Institute of Technology, and Uppsala University that is focused on creating a center for high-throughput research, including genomics, comparative genetics, proteomics, bioimaging, and other biomedicine and environmental science projects.

A central aim of SciLifeLab is to identify genetic risk factors, biomarkers, and molecular mechanisms in human diseases for use in early diagnosis, personalized therapies, and identification of novel drug targets.

The new construction will create "a more coherent base" for SciLifeLab's operations, which currently are spread over a number of sites at Uppsala University, and to create a "stimulating, creative environment" for scientists from different labs to work together, the university said this week. The spirit of the expansion and consolidation was modeled on the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

The SciLifeLab additions will include the planned five-story Navet (Hub) building and space in existing areas of BMC that will total 118,400 square feet and will be completed in the fall of 2013. The Navet building will include a central meeting space and room for guest researchers from other institutes in Sweden and abroad.

Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, a professor of comparative genomics at Uppsala and leader of the Uppsala SciLifeLab node, said that bringing researchers closer together to share technologies, platforms, and methodologies is beneficial for research.

"It's a matter of drawing together researchers from different departments, faculties and higher education institutions around joint methods," she said in a statement. "When people with different backgrounds meet in a workaday context, novel opportunities for attacking difficult problems arise."

The SciLifeLab labs currently house 15 next-generation DNA sequencers, mass spectrometry and imaging facilities, and two labs for a range of high-throughput genomics projects.