14th October 2005

Wellcome Trust Genome Campus Extension Opened

Visit by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal

Major new cutting-edge science facilities have been opened today at the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in a ceremony conducted by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal. Princess Anne toured the new laboratory and IT accommodation housing the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute's latest programmes of research activities.

" The new facilities provide flexible and adaptive space for our researchers in our efforts to strengthen our position as a world leader in genomic research "

Prof Allan Bradley

The Institute sequenced a third of the human genome, as well as those of many other organisms. This has provided researchers across the world with a wealth of information about our genes and their many variations. Research at the Institute is now focused on unravelling the messages within our genes in order to improve the treatment of human disease.

The Princess Royal, who unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion, was welcomed on her visit by Mrs Jane Lewin Smith, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Sir Dominic Cadbury, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust, Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust and Professor Allan Bradley, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

Sir Dominic Cadbury said: "The mission of the Wellcome Trust is to foster and promote research with the aim of improving human and animal health. These new, state-of-the-art buildings reflect the exciting research being undertaken and will play a critical role in helping researchers shed light on many important diseases."

The new buildings house over 200 researchers and computer scientists and include new staff facilities and a research support facility.

A new Data Centre will provide researchers worldwide with free access to the latest results from the Institute's research programmes. To do this, it houses more than 2000 processors and has memory equivalent to a stack of CDs 3.7 km high. Nearly one billion sets of DNA sequence are stored and researchers access four million pages each week.

New laboratories house research groups making use of the Institute's genome sequences and data-handling skills. Their work includes investigating how proteins in our cells 'talk' to one another, how genes are involved in cancer and how antibody 'tags' can be used to map proteins in normal and disease tissue.

Commenting on the opening, Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust said, "The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is one of the world's foremost centres for genomics and bioinformatics research. This £95 million development of new laboratories, research facilities and a Data Centre will ensure that the Institute builds on strength and retains its cutting-edge position. We hope this will enable discoveries allowing the design of new and improved drugs and the provision of tools for researchers to study important diseases."

Since planning permission was granted in November 2002, highlights of work at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute include:

Professor Allan Bradley, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: "We are delighted and honoured that The Princess Royal has returned to open the new extension. Since she opened the original buildings in 1997, it is not only the physical structure of the campus that has been extended and remodelled, but our science also. We have added new programmes that will bring biological discovery and medical understanding from our work on genomes."

"The new facilities provide flexible and adaptive space for our researchers in our efforts to strengthen our position as a world leader in genomic research. They will enhance our efforts to provide real benefit for researchers as well as non-scientists worldwide."

The Wellcome Trust and Its Founder

The Wellcome Trust is the most diverse biomedical research charity in the world, spending about £450 million every year both in the UK and internationally to support and promote research that will improve the health of humans and animals. The Trust was established under the will of Sir Henry Wellcome, and is funded from a private endowment, which is managed with long-term stability and growth in mind.


The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute was founded in 1992 as the focus for the UK sequencing effort of the human and mouse genomes. The Institute is responsible for the completion of the sequence of approximately one-third of the human genome and one-fifth of the mouse, The Institute is also a major contributor to the mapping and sequencing of the zebrafish genome and genomes of more than 90 disease-causing organisms, including TB and malaria. The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is based in Hinxton, Cambridge, UK.


Sanger Institute Contact Information:

Don Powell Press Officer
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Hinxton, Cambs, CB10 1SA, UK

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Email press.office@sanger.ac.uk

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