New single cell genomics center a sound move for UConn

The University of Connecticut and the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX) recently signed an agreement to build a $7.7 million single cell genomics center as part of the UConn Health Center in Farmington. This new facility will be located within the existing JAX building at the health center.

“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,” JAX genomic medicine scientific director and professor Charles Lee said.

Whereas previous research has been limited to the study of tissues and groups of cells, the new JAX genomic center will allow researchers to observe the interactions and characteristics of single cells. This will offer unprecedented fidelity and could provide a far greater understanding of genetic and cellular mechanisms than previously possible.

UConn’s decision to collaborate with JAX and invest in this innovative facility will not only cement its reputation as a strong scientific institution, but will also help place the university at the forefront as a global leader in biological research. 

This deal represents a further materialization of the collaboration between UConn and JAX that was jumpstarted by Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Bioscience Connecticut initiative. The goals of this initiative are to improve Connecticut’s economy by creating short-term jobs in construction and long-term growth on the foundation of cutting-edge bioscience research. The announcement of the Single Cell Genomics Center seems to be ringing such promises true and is a validation of the plans set forth by Malloy. 

While the new genomics facility will be located at the health center, the effects of this partnership will be experienced throughout the UConn community. Those in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), particularly in the field of biological science, will benefit from the groundbreaking research that will take place at the genomics center.

Furthering its partnership with Jackson Laboratory by funding the development of such projects is a sound move for UConn, as it will elevate the quality of the STEM program by offering a greater number of career opportunities at the health center, attracting highly qualified and motivated students and faculty and bringing worldwide attention to its research.