State Rep. Tony Hwang (R-134 Fairfield & Trumbull) toured the University of Connecticut Health Center’s Cell and Genome Science Labs to view their latest research developments, which included a detailed look at their research labs, and science and engineering facilities and equipment.
Hwang was given a tour by Professor Marc E. Lalande, Ph.D. who is Chair of the Genetics and Developmental Biology and Senior Associate Dean for Research Planning and Coordination at the Genetics & Developmental Biology in Farmington.
Professor Lalande shared with Rep. Hwang how UConn’s research partner, Jackson Laboratory Genomics (JAX), has won a $7.5 million grant for a large-scale cancer genomics project. The grant will pay for research using Jackson Laboratory mice that can host human tumors and capitalize on the research innovations of UConn’s Stem Cell and Genomics Lab.
Hwang said, “This is exciting! Our bioscience investment is showing scientists and researchers around the world that Connecticut is serious about its bioscience research and innovation. This initiative will attract world class scientists to CT, which will build momentum to establish a thriving ecosystem of new businesses and high value jobs.”
During the first phase of the grant, from 2013 to 2015, Dr. Kim of the Seoul National University College of Medicine and colleagues will collect and store tumors from patients with gastric, breast, colon, lung and rare cancers and determine the genomic signatures of those cancers. JAX Director Dr. Charles Lee will lead the development of hundreds of new model systems for gastric, breast and other cancers that will be made available to the worldwide scientific community. The models will allow for more detailed study of the cellular and genomic characteristics of specific cancers. The research team will also build a publicly accessible library of anticancer drugs.
“This is a wonderful example of the international collaborations that JAX is building to rapidly advance its research mission, in this case: individualized cancer diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr. Lee.