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Opening doors to excellence. Enabling OMICs high-thROughput techNologies at the Faculty of Medicine Jagiellonian University Medical College

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A boost for omics research at Poland's Jagiellonian University Medical College

Jagiellonian University, the second oldest university in central Europe, is an important centre for scientific research. An EU-funded initiative worked to improve the research capacity of the Faculty of Medicine at the Jagiellonian University Medical College (JUMC) in Poland.

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The primary objectives of the three-year OMICRON (Opening doors to excellence. Enabling OMICs high-throughput technologies at the Faculty of Medicine Jagiellonian University Medical College) project were upgrading infrastructure as well as the training and development of researchers and future leaders. Universities from the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom collaborated with the JUMC Faculty of Medicine in the framework of this project. In the first phase, a modern omics centre, the Omicron Laboratory, was set up with state-of-the-art research equipment to support cutting-edge genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic research and analyses. Relevant training was provided for technicians and postdoctoral researchers. Activities in the second project phase culminated in the hiring of 10 postdoctoral researchers, mostly Polish nationals, who brought scientific expertise from work at international research institutions in the EU and the United States. Seven qualified technical support staff were also recruited for technological and computational equipment support. A visiting professorship programme hosted some 30 foreign researchers to lecture on OMICRON-related fields. JUMC scientists and PhD students took part in training and conferences at various European scientific institutions as part of a know-how exchange programme. Training included topics on handling a large number of samples, the use of high-throughput technologies for experimentation and analysing large amounts of data. As a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) under the FP7-REGPOT funding scheme, OMICRON did not produce scientific or technological results. However, the creation of the Omicron Laboratory has opened up scientific and academic opportunities for JUMC staff. Further, this helped provide employment for returning Polish nationals. A variety of materials were produced to boost the visibility of OMICRON and the JUMC Faculty of Medicine. Dissemination was carried out through the project website, local, national and international media, and conferences, workshops and European networking events. Project efforts supported new collaborations between JUMC researchers and leading European scientific institutions. Overall, OMICRON outcomes have already made an impact on the local JUMC scientific community and established the OMICRON Centre and JUMC as desirable partners for research collaborations. Resulting increased visibility and research collaboration opportunities promise enhanced economic and social development in Poland's historical Malopolska region.

Keywords

Omics, Jagiellonian University Medical College, high-throughput technologies, Omicron Laboratory

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