UConn, Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine sign $7.7 million pact

The Jackson Laboratory building on the UConn Health campus in Farmington, Connecticut. The deal between the lab and UConn will lead to a new, 189,000-square foot facility that will allow researchers to study the genetic causes of diseases using microfluidics. (pedrik/Flickr)

The Jackson Laboratory building on the UConn Health campus in Farmington, Connecticut. The deal between the lab and UConn will lead to a new, 189,000-square foot facility that will allow researchers to study the genetic causes of diseases using microfluidics. (pedrik/Flickr)

The University of Connecticut and the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine have signed an agreement to open a $7.7 million Single Cell Genomic Center on the UConn Health campus in Farmington Conn.

“This new center demonstrates UConn’s commitment to Bioscience Connecticut’s goals to grow research and innovation through collaborations with a world leader like The Jackson Laboratory,” UConn’s vice president for research Jeffrey Seemann said in a press release last Wednesday. “This type of collaboration enables Connecticut to assume a position as a global leader in the field of precision medicine and allows for greater opportunities for UConn researchers to make important, innovative advances in bioscience research.”

The 189,000 square foot facilities will allow researchers to study the genetic causes of diseases using microfluidics, which allow individual cells to be stored in small amounts of liquid. Prior to this development, cells had to be studied as part of a larger tissue sample, making results less reliable.

“The ability to analyze a single cell at high resolution is bringing unprecedented precision to biomedical research,” JAX genomic medicine scientific director and professor Charles Lee said in the press release. “This new center is not only one of the first in the world dedicated to single cell genomics, but also represents the first JAX-UConn cooperative facility.”

The Single Cell Genomic Center also has the potential to be used as a teaching tool, with interdisciplinary classes bringing students into the lab. JAX Laboratory President and CEO Edison Liu said researchers will have the opportunity to receive dual appointments through collaboration with the university.

“We’re doing something very new here that will launch a new construct in American education and research,” Liu said in a 2012 press release. “We’re building one of the most innovative and forward-thinking genomics programs in the country because we’re starting from scratch.” 

JAX is a nonprofit biomedical research company with an emphasis on cancer research and personalized medicine, which uses a patient’s genetic makeup to utilize preventative, rather than reactive, care. Jeffrey Seemann, UConn’s vice president of research, said.

“This new center demonstrates UConn’s commitment to Bioscience Connecticut’s goals to grow research and innovation through collaborations with a world leader like The Jackson Laboratory,” Seemann said. “This type of collaboration enables Connecticut to assume a position as a global leader in the field of precision medicine and allows for greater opportunities for UConn researchers to make important, innovative advances in bioscience research.”


Kimberly Armstrong is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kimberly.armstrong@uconn.edu.