- Posted Wednesday March 28, 2007
New Illumina platform increases project load capability, keeps Consortium on the cutting-edge of research technology
Phoenix, AZ, March 28, 2007--The NIH Neuroscience Microarray Consortium today announced that it has added high-density genotyping on both the Affymetrix and Illumina platforms to its list of services. Stan Nelson, the principal investigator at UCLA, says that "adding ultra-high throughput genotyping for its user-base of ~10,000 investigators across the world keeps the Consortium current with the demands of the scientific community."
The Consortium is comprised of four nationally recognized centers located at Duke University in Durham, NC, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, AZ, the University of California in Los Angeles, and Yale University in New Haven, CT. The Consortium can be accessed through its web portal at http://arrayconsortium.tgen.org.
Initially funded in 2002 by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the Microarray Consortium is now supported by these two institutes as well as the thirteen other NIH Neuroscience Blueprint institutes and centers.
"The consortium that we have established over the past four years is a nation-wide technology outlet that dramatically accelerates the pace of neuroscience research," said Consortium Chairman Dr. Dietrich Stephan, who is also the director of TGen's Neurogenomics Division. "Implementing these high throughput genotyping services will ultimately make a dramatic impact in clinical care of neurological disorders."
About 10,000 investigators funded through the 15 different NIH institutes are part of the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint and have access to the technology and expertise within the national Consortium. "Now," says Pate Skene, the PI at Duke University, "scientists investigating any aspect of the brain, behavior or neurological disease have access to a full range of microarray technologies for scanning the entire human genome and all of the genes for which it encodes."
Each of the four members of the Consortium offer specialized services. The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) offers both expression profiling and SNP genotyping on Affymetrix Genechips. UCLA, in addition to the Affymetrix platform, processes Agilent arrays; Duke offers LCM services, Ambion mirVana arrays, and Operon oligo arrays; Yale offers expression profiling and genotyping on the Affymetrix platform and uses the Affymetrix exon arrays to look at splice variants, in addition to the new Illumina expression and genotyping capabilities.
The principal investigator at Yale, Shrikant Mane, says that the "Illumina platform provides an important complement to the other technologies currently available through the NIH Neuroscience Microarray Consortium and will significantly aid the research goals of the neuroscientist."
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The mission of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is to make and translate genomic discoveries into advances in human health. Translational genomics research is a relatively new field employing innovative advances arising from the Human Genome Project and applying them to the development of diagnostics, prognostics and therapies for cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and other complex diseases. TGen is focused on personalized medicine and plans to accomplish its goals through robust and disease-focused research programs and its state-of-the-art bioinformatics and computational biology facilities.
The consortium's site at Duke University will operate in concert with the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy (IGSP). The IGSP, established in 2000 with $200 million in institutional funds, represents Duke University's comprehensive response to the broad challenges of the genomic revolution. IGSP activities are organized through five research centers: the Center for Genome Technology, the Center for Human Genetics, the Center for Human Disease Models, the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and the Center for Genome Ethics, Law and Policy.
The UCLA Department of Human Genetics provides a world-class research and teaching focal point for campus-wide activities in human genetics and gene therapy. Hailing from the School of Medicine and the College of Letters and Science, the department's diverse faculty is housed in the Gonda Research Center, which offers specialized core laboratories for sequencing and genotyping, array technology, FISH techniques and bioinformatics.
The Yale consortium center is associated with the Keck Biotechnology Resource Laboratories at the Yale School of Medicine, which is one of the largest biotechnology laboratories of its kind in the academia. The scientific interests of the faculty at Yale represent the full range of the broad and rapidly growing field of neuroscience. Leaders in areas ranging from the genetic and structural analysis of single membrane channels to the functional characterization of the neocortex are represented among this group of outstanding scientists. The interdisciplinary research programs of the Yale neuroscience faculty are central to Yale's Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program (INP). This unique, broad-based training program can best be described as a "department without walls," with the primary purpose of providing students with a maximum of diversity and depth in the most important areas of neuroscience research. The neuroscience faculty members at Yale command more than half of the University's biomedical research budget and occupy more than 60,000 square feet of well-equipped laboratory space.
Amy Erickson, TGen