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Collaborative Grant to Facilitate Research on Genome Architecture Studies

Scientists from The University of Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre in collaboration with researchers from around Europe have been awarded over 500,000 euros from the EU framework 6 Initiative. This grant will fund three conferences and two training courses on “Genome Architecture in Relation to Disease”.

It is now well recognised that many human diseases including cancer and communicable diseases involve complex (epi-) genetic processes, composed of both hereditable and environmental factors. This series of events will survey the development and application of techniques for the investigation of human genome from different structural perspectives in relation to cancer, communicable and heritable diseases. Grant co-ordinator Dr. Bauke Ylstra of the VU Medical Centre in Amsterdam said “Research in this exciting field of genome architecture is rapidly expanding and will have a large impact on our understanding, prognosis and diagnosis of human disease and prevention. Studies from my lab using array-CGH on genomic microarrays have already shown specific chromosomal changes in different cancer types” Recent studies of cancer, inherited complex diseases and communicable diseases have shown the clinical relevance of genetic variation. Further genetic data will now come from large-scale SNP projects combined with DNA sequence analysis of a large numbers of individuals. These new studies further obscure the distinction between major clinical disciplines encompassing genetics, microbiology, pathology and oncology and require cross-talk and collaboration with research disciplines such as genomics, epi-genetics, cytology, (3-D) image analysis, bioinformatics and statistics. Professor David Harrison, Director of the Cancer Research Centre said “I am really pleased we have been awarded this grant. It will be good organising a conference in Edinburgh on Genome Architecture in Disease. It will bring experts from around the world and will bring the Cancer Research Centre and the new Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine to the forefront of studies between genome architecture and common diseases like cancer. It will also help to further develop a modern pathological view of many diseases.” The first meeting will be held in Amsterdam in May 2007. Further information is available from Dr Nick Gilbert (Nick.Gilbert@ed.ac.uk) or the conference website (http://www.mc-gard.eu).

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