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Queen Mary University of London to host Genomics England on campus during delivery of 100,000 Genomes Project

Genomics England – the company set up by the Department of Health to deliver the Government’s 100,000 Genomes Project – will move into newly refurbished headquarters on Queen Mary University of London’s Charterhouse Square campus from 21 April 2014.

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Queen Mary will support Genomics England in their delivery of the Government’s 100,000 Genomes Project by seconding staff and providing core infrastructure on campus.

With the consent of participants, 100,000 whole genomes (which is the entire DNA code) will be sequenced.  The genomes will come from cancer patients and their tumour, and also from those with rare disease and their families. Studying genome data and linking it with medical information and records will give a much greater understanding of how a patient’s genetic make-up relates to their condition, offering potential for tailored or even novel treatments, drugs and diagnostics.

Since the 100,000 Genomes Project was first launched by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, a close working relationship has been built between the Queen Mary and Genomics England. Queen Mary’s Professor Mark Caulfield, a pre-eminent figure in the genetics of cardiovascular disease, was named Chief Scientist for Genomics England in July 2013.

By being based together on campus, Queen Mary and Genomics England will continue to strengthen their relationship and look towards building a new landscape of medical research and industry interaction, borne out of the 100,000 Genomes Project. 

Professor Mark Caulfield, Centre Lead for Clinical Pharmacology at Queen Mary University of London and Chief Scientist for Genomics England, said: We wholeheartedly welcome Genomics England to Queen Mary University of London and look forward to building on our already strong relationship. Our role in the harnessing of genetic information will change the landscape of medical research.”

Queen Mary students will be in the unique and privileged position of applying for the Genomics England six-month internship programme, giving them the opportunity to gain a head-start in this ground-breaking area of medical research. The first intern will be starting this summer, and the programme is envisaged to expand in the future.

Professor Mark Caulfield continues: “We are particularly proud to offer opportunities for our scientists and students to get involved in Genomics England. When the current programme is completed, we envisage a transformed application of genetics in UK healthcare – with new therapies being developed and emerging partnerships with industry. Queen Mary graduates who have interned with Genomics England will be in a strong position to contribute to these new opportunities both within healthcare and industry across the world.”

Sir John Chisholm, Executive Chair of Genomics England, comments: “We are delighted to be moving onto Queen Mary University of London grounds and we truly value their involvement and generosity in homing us. We look forward to working together on this cutting-edge initiative.”

Professor Richard Trembath, Vice-Principal for Health at Queen Mary University of London, comments: “As a geneticist I am particularly pleased to be hosting Genomics England on campus and supporting them in delivery of this world-leading medical research programme. Enhancing opportunities for early disease diagnosis and prevention will be essential to making the step changes required for economic delivery of improvements in health care. Our local communities of East London face a unique set of health challenges and we anticipate our work on this initiative will benefit those most in need as well as the population as a whole.”

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