Genomics Institute Launching $1 Million Grant Program to Encourage Research Collaborations

Mark Lalande in his lab at the Health Center.

Marc Lalande in his lab at the Health Center. (Lanny Nagler for UConn Health Center)

In an effort to foster interdisciplinary genomics research, the University’s Institute for Systems Genomics will invest $1 million this spring among four pilot research programs that demonstrate collaboration among the Institute’s partners.

“One of the fundamental goals of the Institute for Systems Genomics is to encourage collaborative research and move the promise of genomic medicine forward,” says Marc Lalande, professor and chairman of Genetics and Developmental Biology at the UConn Health Center, and director of the Institute. “The new pilot programs are a step in the right direction,” he says. The funded programs will be known as “Affinity Research Collaboratives” based on a similar initiative developed at Boston University.

The Institute was launched last fall to develop a world-class program for research and training in genomics medicine; build relationships between the academic and corporate communities; and encourage students to pursue careers in genomics studies. Institute partners include the University of Connecticut, the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, the UConn Health Center, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and other regional hospitals and health care organizations.

The grant program is being facilitated by the UConn Health Center and letters of intent are due on May 15. To qualify, the proposal must involve interdisciplinary genomics research, integrate at least two disciplines, and consist of a team of at least four investigators with representation from both Jackson Laboratory and UConn, Lalande says.

In addition, proposals must show strong evidence for potential collaboration with a plan that includes co-mentorship of trainees, a provision for group meetings to enhance innovation and networking, a strategy for data management and an identification of existing and future opportunities for extramural funding.

Proposals will be reviewed by an external panel including nationally recognized researchers from the Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology at the University of Chicago; U.C. Davis Department of Medical Biology and Microbiology; and Pennsylvania State University.

Grant awards are expected to be announced by early September. For more information about the process, contact the Institute at sholden@uchc.edu.


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