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CNAG and CRG join forces to boost genomics research


Lun, 30/04/2012 - 10:40

CNAG and CRG join forces to boost genomics research

CRG and CNAG join forces to boost genomics research

  • The Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the National Centre for Genomic Analysis (CNAG) have signed a collaboration agreement to promote action in order to strengthen their research 
  • The first fruit of this alliance is the CNAG Structural Genomics research group, led by researcher Marc A. Marti-Renom, joining the CRG.

The Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), based in the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park, and the National Centre for Genomic Analysis (CNAG), based in the Barcelona Science Park, have signed a collaboration agreement with the aim of boosting research in the field of genomic analysis. This partnership provides the framework for collaboration in specific research projects and the promotion of research of interest to both institutions. 
The first consequence of the signing of this agreement, is that the Structural Genomics Group of the CNAG, will also join the Gene Regulation, Stem Cells and Cancer programme of the CRG, coordinated by Juan Valcárcel and Thomas Graf.
With this dual affiliation, the Structural Genomics group will have better resources to develop their science both experimentally and computationally. The group will carry out its laboratory work at the CRG where it will have access to the most innovative experimental techniques, cutting-edge scientific services and facilities and the collaboration of top-level researchers at the centre as well as the full range of seminars and conferences the CRG organises for its members. At the same time, it will provide the CRG with its expertise in 3D genome analysis. The computational activity of the group, which involves both sequencing and sequence analysis, will continue at the CNAG which has the computing capacity needed to make powerful computer calculations. 
The Structural Genomics group, headed by researcher Marc A. Marti-Renom, is principally interested in revealing the molecular mechanisms that regulate the cell. To do this they use the laws of physics and evolution to develop and apply computational methods to help predict the 3D structure of macromolecules and their complexes. In particular the Structural Genomics Group focuses its efforts on 3 areas of research: the structural determination of genomes and genomic domains, the structural determination and prediction of RNA molecules and the structural prediction of proteins and their complexes. 
This alliance is in line with the strategic guidelines set out by the recently passed Science Law fostering the mobility of researchers to increase critical mass and scientific competitiveness. 
Modern science is increasingly interdisciplinary, it is impossible for a single centre to have all the expertise and technology necessary to be globally competitive. That is why strategic partnerships such as that we have with the CNAG contribute to increasing the competitiveness of national centres”, said Luis Serrano, director of the CRG. 
Ivo Gut, director of the CNAG states that “we already have joint projects with the CRG but this agreement will foster an even closer collaboration which will increase the capacity of both institutions. This collaboration not only optimises resources but also increases the capacity of Spanish institutions to retain research talent.” 
About Marc A. Marti-Renom
The head of the Structural Genomics group is Marc A. Marti-Renom, who holds a degree in Biology and a PhD in Biophysics from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He trained in the modelling of protein structure in the laboratory of Prof. Andrej Sali at Rockefeller University, in the USA. Later, he was appointed assistant professor at the University of California in San Francisco, also in the USA. Between 2006 and 2011, he was head of the Structural Genomics Laboratory in the Prince Felipe Research Centre in Valencia (CIPF). Today he is the group leader of Genomic Biology at the CNAG and the head of the CNAG-CRG Structural Genomics group. Marc A. Marti-Renom is associate editor of the journal PLoS Computational Biology and has co-authored over 60 articles published in prestigious scientific journals. 
About the National Centre for Genome Analysis (CNAG)
The CNAG was created in 2009 with support from the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Government of Catalonia as a platform integrated into the Barcelona Science Park. The mission of the centre is to carry out large-scale DNA analysis and sequencing projects in collaboration with researchers from Catalonia, Spain and other parts of the world and ensure the international competitiveness of our country in the strategic area of genomics.
The centre, directed by Dr. Ivo Gut, has a highly-qualified team of 40 (50% of the staff holds a doctorate), and a fleet of 12 latest-generation sequencers, which have allowed it to achieve a sequencing capacity of up to 600 Gbases/day, equivalent to six human genomes sequenced per day. This makes the CNAG the second ranked European centre for sequencing capacity. 
The CNAG collaborates in numerous sequencing projects in areas as diverse as cancer genetics, rare and minority diseases, host-pathogen interactions, the preservation of endangered species, evolutionary studies and the improvement of species of interest to agriculture, in collaboration with scientists from universities, hospitals, research centres and biotechnology companies. It participates in 13 competitively-funded research projects, mostly European, and in 2011 initiated collaborations with more than thirty institutions, both public and private. 
About the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG)
The CRG is an international institute for biomedical research excellence, created in December 2000. It is a non-profit foundation, and relies on the participation of the Government of Catalonia, via the Department of Economics and Knowledge and the Department of Health, the Pompeu Fabra University, and the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Its mission is to discover and advance knowledge for the benefit of society, public health and economic prosperity. 
The CRG believes that the medicine of the future depends on innovative science today. This requires an interdisciplinary team focused on understanding the complexity of life, from the genome and the cell, to the whole organism and its interaction with the environment, providing an overall view of genetic diseases. 
The CRG’s main goals are to become a global reference centre in the field of biomedical sciences, to communicate and establish a bilateral dialogue with society, provide advanced training to the next generation of scientists and transform new knowledge into benefit and value to society and the economy. 
The combination of the 'know how' of top scientists from around the world and the availability of cutting-edge equipment, make the CRG a unique centre with high-level scientific production in an international context and the best scientific and technical services for research. 
Further information:
Centre for Genomic Regulation(CRG)
Laia Cendrós – 93 316 02 37