U, Mayo collaboration receives $1.2 million for genomics studies

A genomics research project at the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic received $1.2 million under a $7 million Minnesota state grant program, according to information released Thursday. The project, High throughput Sequence Analysis Infrastructure Technology Investigation, or HAITI, is led by Sushmita Singh, research associate at the UniversityâÄôs BioMedical Genomics Center , and Jean-Pierre Kocher of the Mayo Clinic. The projectâÄôs goal is to streamline analysis of large amounts of genetic data, Singh said. Singh said she sent her proposal for the grant from the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics in May. There were 13 proposals, and her partnership was one of several selected. Genomics is the study of an organism’s entire genome, a field which Singh said generates an âÄúimmenseâÄù amount of data. âÄúAnalysis needs to be conducted,âÄù she said. âÄúOtherwise all of this data is useless.âÄù Singh said the funding is significant because it will allow the University and Mayo to analyze all of the genetic data they have gathered. Kari Bunjer, a scientist at the BioMedical Genomics Center, said the funding will not only allow a large amount of data to be analyzed, but it will increase the speed and efficiency of the process. Singh said this data will benefit almost every clinical study and the entire field of genomics. âÄúWe could discover rare mutations on genes,âÄù she said. âÄúThis is a very robust technology for that.âÄù Ina Parvanova, manager of research communications at the Mayo Clinic, said with the work the University and Mayo do together, they want to focus on curing several diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and AlzheimerâÄôs disease . Parvanova said research is generally done alone, but for this partnership, the University and Mayo had to prove how they would conduct their research together. âÄúMayo has a huge patient base and the University has a very strong research base and this is beneficial to us and ultimately the rest of the country,âÄù she said. âÄúIt creates a very specific niche for Minnesota with the partnershipâÄôs focus on biotechnology and medical genomics.âÄù According to the press release, the grants from the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics will also provide equipment and materials for research on congenital heart disease, create a crystallization facility for studying medical conditions at the molecular level and fund brain imaging technology for disease studies.