Q: The Garvan and Weizmann Institutes are located on opposite sides of the globe. Why set up a joint Centre for Cellular Genomics?
A: The Centre provides a single site at which cellular and single-cell genomics experiments can be carried out. Cellular genomic technology is in its infancy and is being successfully applied in only a few laboratories around the world, including at Garvan and the Weizmann Institute. As a biomedical research approach, cellular genomics has remarkable potential to unlock new understandings about how our bodies function in health and disease, and to uncover promising therapeutic approaches to a wide range of diseases. As such, it is eminently worthwhile to take steps to accelerate progress in cellular genomics.
By bringing together considerable expertise and cutting- edge technology across the four areas key to cellular genomics – cytometry (the science of characterising and handling cells), microfluidics (the art of manipulating fluids at the microscopic scale), genomics (the study of the genome and its outputs), and informatics (the process of drawing meaning from complex data) – the Centre makes possible a range of innovative and ambitious experimental approaches that might otherwise be impossible to achieve.
Q: What specific diseases will be studied through the Garvan-Weizmann Centre?
A: In the first instance, the Centre’s collaborative research projects will focus on cancer and on immune disease, on harnessing the immune system to attack cancers.
Q: What is cellular genomics?
A: Cellular genomics is the study of the genetic makeup of a single cell – from the cell’s entire DNA code (its genome), to the secondary code that organises the genome (its epigenome), and the total genetic output of the cell (its transcriptome). At once exquisitely detailed and massively high-throughput, cutting-edge cellular genomics technologies make it possible to unlock unprecedented insights into how cells work individually, and how they function together, in ways that were impossible only a few years ago.
Cellular genomics will revolutionise our understanding of complex diseases, particularly cancer, immunological and neurological diseases – and will open the door to the development of new therapies and interventions.
Q: How do Garvan and Weizmann complement each other in terms of expertise?
A: Garvan is a leader in the analysis of cancer genomes and their behaviour and is at the forefront of genome sequencing in Australia, whereas the Weizmann Institute has outstanding expertise in single-cell genomics and in other key emerging technologies.
Q: Where are donations to the Centre spent?
A: Donations made to the Garvan-Weizmann partnership can be spent in Australia or Israel, depending on where particular expenses in the research programs occur. (immunotherapies), and on metabolic disease (including diabetes) and the microbiome. However, this is just the beginning, and the Centre’s research focus will expand into diverse areas – including the interrogation of neurological disease through cellular genomics of brain cells.
Transparency and the appropriate distribution of funds are a priority of the Garvan-Weizmann partnership.
Q: Who can use the Centre’s technology?
A: The technology within the Garvan-Weizmann Centre is available to researchers within the Garvan and Weizmann Institutes, and all researchers across the globe.
Q: Why is further funding essential for the Centre?
A: Generous initial funding made it possible to construct the Garvan-Weizmann Centre for Cellular Genomics.
Now, we seek philanthropic investment that will help our researchers realise the potential of the collaborative partnership. Further funding will make possible the cutting-edge collaborative research projects that are driven by the Centre’s technologies and expertise.