The UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute provides framework for the next great leap in genomics. Discovering the world’s answers will lead to the development of targeted treatment for diseases. These are some of our focus areas:
Stem Cell Genomics
& Technology Development
From decoding cancer to understanding biodiversity, our open-source genomics platform is the world’s most essential resource for unlocking the most challenging medical and scientific issues of our time.
International Global Platform & Standards
UC Santa Cruz is a partner in the Global Alliance for Genomics & Health, an international organization of health research and advocacy that first standardized, enabled, and secured access to genomic and clinical data. David Haussler co-leads the alliance’s Genomic Data Working Group, which concentrates on data representation, storage, and analysis. They are working with partners and leaders to develop standards guiding the use and exchange of information in software and computer systems.
Human Genome Variation Map
The Human Genome Variation Map (HGVM) offers a new and comprehensive representation of human genome variation. This upcoming resource will enhance research in medicine and health sciences. The Human Genome Variation Map analyzes and detects simple and complex genomic variants contributing to hereditary conditions. Basic applications in genomics include a better understanding of recent human evolution, especially the evolution of DNA that is difficult to map.
Center for Big Data in Translational Genomics
The Center for Big Data in Translational Genomics is a multinational effort between academia and industry for genomics technologies. They aim to create models and tools that will help study vast amounts of genomic information. The studies may lead to the analysis of genomes and gene expression from thousands of individuals, uncovering causes of gene variants for cancer and disease. Such knowledge will be vital in the development of precise methods for health diagnosis and treatment. The center aims to make software solutions interactive by developing standard application programming interfaces (APIs) and tools at multiple levels.
Innovative Nanopipette Technology Enables Longitudinal Genomics Studies
Single-cell Genomic Studies
This technology differs from any other single-cell genomic analysis system, since it is the only one of its kind keeping cells alive for repeated biopsy and sampling over time.
The Pourmand lab has used the nanopipette before to study the genomics of single tumor cells and the genomic basis for breast cancer cell resistance to drugs. They recently turned their attention to study the genomics of single neurons in cultures from rodent and human induced pluripotent cells.
Genomics and Society
The UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute collaborates with social scientists and ethicists to address bioethical and privacy issues for patients, families, physicians, counselors, business, and government.
The institute’s bioscience and society research will focus in two areas: social bioinformatics and genomics, difference, and justice.
New challenges are emerging as the biomedical ethos of privacy and protection meets the ethos of openness forged by leaders of the Human Genome Project. Furthermore, recent efforts to introduce social media approaches to knowledge production and individual empowerment have potential involvement in biomedicine. Research in this area will map how these forms of closure and openness may challenge important and historically established practices of consent, property, and privacy.
Genomics, Difference & Justice
Next-generation genomic research offers new ways of representing and understanding biological differences.
This research will address how this new understanding changes our ideas about:
- – Natural and social order
– How new understandings and symbols of difference conform to a contemporary concern with justice
– How genomic sciences fit in a world where resources are becoming less in quantity for most living beings
This area of research builds on Jenny Reardon’s internationally recognized research in race, difference, and genomics. The research could help guide the institute’s efforts to give rise to a genomics that truly attends to and cares for people.
Our Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative is made to change the face of health treatment for children with cancer. It allows the sharing of pediatric cancer genomic data, analyzing a child’s cancer data along childhood and adult patients of all cancers. This “pan-cancer” analysis of adult and pediatric tumors may identify situations where an adult drug is predicted to work on a smaller group of pediatric patients.
One approach this project pursues explores whether data collected from neuroblastoma patients can be gathered to discover therapies that will use the patient’s immune system to fight the cancer. Similar approaches have led to lasting traces of cancer in cases of metastatic melanoma and other types, but have had limited trials in children. The low toxicity of an immunogenomic approach makes it ideal for treating children in the health field.