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$47.5m research centre to seek genetic insights into disease

The Novo Nordisk Foundation and Broad Institute have teamed up to mine genetic data for disease insights and help develop the next generation of researchers

Denmark’s Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have launched a new research centre, the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Genomic Mechanisms of Disease, in Cambridge, Mass.

The new centre will focus on mining genetic data to create insights into disease mechanisms leading, eventually, to rationally designed treatments.

The centre was created with a $47.5m grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, an independent Danish foundation with corporate interests that aims to underpin the Novo Group’s commercial and research activities and support scientific, humanitarian and social causes.

Founded by MIT, Harvard and its affiliated hospitals, and philanthropists Eli and Edythe L Broad in 2003, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard aims to discover the molecular basis of major human diseases and empower a generation of scientists.

“With its leading universities and hospitals, Boston is renowned as an international epicenter for biomedical research and innovation, and the Broad Institute has earned a reputation of being a key nexus in this rich ecosystem,” said the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s Niels-Henrik von-Holstein-Rathlou. “By establishing this new centre with the Broad Institute, we seek to help drive global research in health for the benefit of many.”

The centre will “generate systematic datasets” to help researchers around the world understand how human genetic variants affect risk for common yet complex diseases. The datasets will be shared freely with the research community.

A central element is to bring together researchers from the Broad Institute with those at Danish universities, whose initial focus will be on understanding type 2 diabetes and obesity and mapping human gene regulation.

The new research centre will be headed by Kasper Lage, an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and director of bioinformatics of the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Surgery. “As someone who is both a Dane and a long-time member of the Broad Institute community, I am thrilled at the launch of this exciting new Centre,” he said. “This collaborative initiative will give the next generation of Danish scientists the opportunity to benefit from the Broad’s unique technology platforms as well as our expertise in genomic technologies, gene regulation, and data science.”

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has committed to supporting the new centre until 2026, with the possibility of extending its support after that. Since 2010, it has donated more than €4bn primarily for research at public institutions and hospitals in Denmark and the other Nordic countries.

Article by
Hugh Gosling

17th September 2021

From: Research

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