The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, and Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, have now officially opened the Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics – where the genetic makeup of thousands of individual cells can be studied at one time.
Situated at the Garvan, the Centre is the only one of its kind in Australia, housing a range of new and cutting-edge technologies to study cells more closely than ever before. Here researchers will be able to explore thousands of individual cells simultaneously: uncovering each cell’s genome sequence and its genetic output, understanding what makes it unique and exploring how it functions in health and disease.
Cellular genomics has only recently become feasible, uncovering thousands of pieces of information about each individual cell, instead of averaging information from a large group of cells (such as a tissue or a tumour biopsy). It therefore has extraordinary potential to revolutionise understanding of many diseases and develop personalised medicine approaches.
“This remarkable new Centre is a seamlessly integrated one-stop shop. We’ve brought together key intersecting technologies that together make cellular genomics a reality. It’s only when these technologies – and, crucially, the people who can use them to best advantage – are available under one roof that they can speed the process of biomedical research,” said Professor Chris Goodnow, Deputy Director of the Garvan Institute.
“What makes the partnership even more momentous is that the Weizmann Institute is a global leader in multidisciplinary basic research, whereas Garvan’s focus is on translational research. Together, we are answering some of science and medicine’s greatest questions,” he said.
According to Professor Michal Neeman, Vice President of the Weizmann Institute of Science, they are entering uncharted territory.
“The technology within the Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics is exceedingly demanding, and at the cutting edge. It’s enabling researchers to enter uncharted territories in terms of what is possible, to unlock new understanding in cancer and other diseases that could lead to treatments,” said Professor Neeman.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who officially opened the Garvan-Weizmann Centre, said the NSW Government played an important role in establishing the Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics.
“It is testament to NSW’s science leadership that we have the technology and expertise within the Centre right here in Sydney that can be made available to researchers across the globe,” she said.
Weizmann-Australia’s Executive Director, Rina Michael, who attended the official proceedings, said that it was the start of a scientific relationship that will be second to none.
“Garvan is a leader in the analysis of genomes and their behaviour and is at the forefront of genome sequencing in Australia, while the Weizmann Institute has outstanding expertise in single-cell genomics and in other key emerging technologies. This partnership is a perfect match towards achieving significant, tangible outcomes for the benefit of humanity. We are very proud to be a part of it,” Ms Michael said.
The Centre’s initial projects will focus on cancer (particularly breast cancer, melanoma, prostate cancer and multiple myeloma), on autoimmune diseases (including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis to name a few, and on cancer immunotherapies.
The Garvan and Weizmann Institutes established the Centre as part of a broader partnership which aims to advance biomedical research, genomic medicine and genomic education.
The construction of the Centre was made possible through visionary philanthropic support from Mr John Roth and Ms Jillian Segal AM, Mr and Mrs Laurie and Di Sutton and The Johnny Kahlbetzer Family and a grant from the Government of New South Wales.
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