The UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute provides the framework for the next great leap in the science of genomics by unlocking the world’s genomics information to drive targeted treatment of 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 essential resource for unlocking the most challenging medical and scientific issues of our time.
International Global Platform & Standards
Human Genome Variation Map
Center for Big Data in Translational Genomics
The Center for Big Data in Translational Genomics is a multi-institution partnership coordinated by UC Santa Cruz to create scalable infrastructure for the broad application of genomics in biomedicine. This multinational collaboration between academia and industry will create data models and analysis tools to analyze massive data sets of genomic information. Such tools can be used to analyze genomes and gene expression data from thousands of individuals to uncover the contribution of gene variants to disease, with an initial focus on cancer. This knowledge will be instrumental in the development of precision diagnostic and treatment methods.
The center will make software solutions interoperable by developing standard application programming interfaces (APIs) and tools at multiple levels, from raw sequence data to genetic variation and functional data, through to systems, pathways, and phenotypes. The overriding goal is to create implementations capable of handling genomics data sets that are orders of magnitude larger than those that can now be handled. The APIs and all academic reference implementations will be open source, while several major corporate partners not funded by the project will provide proprietary implementations, creating a competitive ecosystem of interoperable big data genomics software.
Innovative Nanopipette Technology Enables Longitudinal Genomics Studies
Single-cell Genomic Studies
UC Santa Cruz professor of biomolecular engineering Nader Pourmand has developed a novel approach to study the longitudinal genomics of single cells in vivo. This approach makes it possible to investigate basic mechanisms of neurodegeneration. His team developed an innovative nanopipette technology that can be used to study the genomics of single neurons with temporal resolution.
UCSC Genome Browser
This interactive web-based “microscope” allows researchers to view all 23 chromosomes of the human genome at any scale, from a full chromosome down to an individual nucleotide. More than 130,000 biomedical researchers throughout the world use the browser each month.
Genomics and Society
The UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute collaborates with social scientists and ethicists to address the bioethical and privacy issues that advances in genomics create 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. Further, recent efforts to introduce social media approaches to knowledge production and individual empowerment have potential implications in the realm of biomedicine. Research in this area will map how these forms of enclosure and openness may challenge important and historically entrenched biomedical practices of consent, property, and privacy.
Genomics, Difference & Justice
Next-generation genomic research offers new modes of representing and understanding biological differences. This research will address how this new understanding is changing our conceptions of both natural and social order, how new understandings and representations of difference articulate to a contemporary concern with justice, and how genomic sciences fits in a world where resources are becoming scarcer for most living beings. This area of research builds on Jenny Reardon’s internationally recognized research in the area of race, difference, and genomics, and could help guide the institute’s efforts to realize a genomics that truly attends to and cares for people.