Wellcome Trust Genome Campus Extension Opened
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 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.
"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."
Sir Dominic Cadbury, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust
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.
"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."
Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust
Since planning permission was granted in November 2002, highlights of work at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute include:
- Completion of work on a final version of the human genome (chromosomes 9, 10, 13 and X);
- Completion of the draft sequence of the mouse genome;
- Completion of the sequences of the 'Superbug' MRSA and the organism responsible for Sleeping Sickness;
- Identification of a gene involved in lung cancer.
"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."
Professor Allan Bradley, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute