Sequencing centre opened by UK Prime Minister

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: Sanger Institute, Genome Research. L-R: Mike Stratton, Sir John Chisholm, Theresa May, David Bentley, Heidi Allen MP
Picture: Sanger Institute, Genome Research. L-R: Mike Stratton, Sir John Chisholm, Theresa May, David Bentley, Heidi Allen MP

Related tags: Bacteria, United kingdom

Two buildings at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have been opened by UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

The Bridget Ogilvie Building houses the Sanger Institute’s genome sequencing facility which has expertise in sequencing genomes from humans, pathogens and other species with samples from around the world.

This building will be used in part to sequence foodborne pathogens.

May said the UK should be the ‘go to’ place for scientists, innovators, businesses and investors.

“What I’ve seen on the Wellcome Genome Campus is an excellent example of research from across the UK and around the world coming together with commerce to deliver benefits for everybody including patients in the NHS.”

The Biodata Innovation Centre will house start-up genomics companies. Some will be spun off from local academic research groups, while others will come from elsewhere in the world.

Illumina involvement

"Genome sequencing is already changing the face of medicine, making possible more accurate and personalized treatments than ever before,"​ said Dr Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome director.

Illumina is undertaking the genome sequencing for the 100,000 Genomes Project, which has currently sequenced 15,000 whole genomes.

David Bentley, VP and chief scientist at Illumina, said: “With the building of our new headquarters for Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Granta Park, Cambridge, Illumina’s inward investment to the UK is set to continue ...and we have every confidence in the country’s unique position to be a leader in genomics in the forthcoming revolution in personalised medicine.”

Professor Sir Mike Stratton, director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and chief executive of the Wellcome Genome Campus, said genomes and biodata are an important part of the future.

The new buildings mark the next major step in the progression of our vision for this Campus as a global hub for genomics and biodata.”

Taking disease tracking out of the hands of a privileged few

Meanwhile, researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Imperial College London have developed a real-time epidemic visualisation and tracking platform that has been used to monitor outbreaks of Ebola, Zika and antibiotic-resistant microbes.

Microreact is a cloud-based system​ that combines open data and the web to provide real-time global data sharing and visualisation.

Researchers previously had to rely on published information in research papers, which may be out of date and contain static visuals which show only a part of the disease or infection threat.

A partnership with the Society​ for General Microbiology, the publisher of Microbial Genomics, allows the journal to make data from prospective publications available through Microreact.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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