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New single-cell tech to accelerate disease understanding

Together with the Weizmann Institute of Science, Garvan has officially opened the Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics, the first of its kind in Australia.

Ms Jillian Segal AM, Professor John Mattick AO FAA, Professor Michal Neeman and Mr Stephen Chipkin

Media Release: 03 August 2017

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney and Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel today officially open the Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics.

Housed at Sydney’s Garvan Institute, the Centre is the only one of its kind in Australia and houses a range of new and cutting-edge technologies that can look more closely at a cell than ever before. Through the Centre, researchers are 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 – the study of the genetic makeup of thousands of individual cells at a time – is a cutting-edge research approach that has only recently become feasible. Because it uncovers 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), cellular genomics has extraordinary potential to revolutionise our understanding of many diseases and develop personalised medicine approaches.

Professor Chris Goodnow, Deputy Director of the Garvan Institute explains, “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.

“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,” said Professor Goodnow.

According to Professor Michal Neeman, Vice President of the Weizmann Institute of Science, “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.”

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.”

Professor John Mattick, Executive Director of Garvan, continues, “The Garvan and Weizmann Institutes are truly complementary in their focus and strengths. This Centre combines Garvan’s leadership in whole genome sequencing and analysis with Weizmann’s expertise in emerging single-cell technologies. The Centre has the power to contribute enormously to improved health outcomes for all.”

In the first instance, the Centre’s 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.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Anna Greenhalgh |       0437 282 467  |  a.greenhalgh@garvan.org.au

Dr Meredith Ross |      0439 873 258  |  m.ross@garvan.org.au

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