10 February 2012
New international genome research centre to open in Denmark
BGI Europe, a subsidiary of the leading Chinese genomic organisation previously known as Beijing Genomics Institute, will open its first European genome research centre in Copenhagen, Denmark on 10 February. The University of Copenhagen, the Technical University of Denmark, Aarhus University, Aalborg University and BGI Europe will collaborate closely on the launch of the new research centre, which is projected to have a great impact on Danish healthcare.
BGI is one of the world’s premier genome sequencing centres. The opening of their new research centre in Copenhagen will help strengthen the already successful collaboration between Denmark and China.
“Our primary mission of this research centre is to provide BGI´s world-class expertise and infrastructure for the European researchers in genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and other related areas. The opening of BGI Europe will add immense value on science advancement and application for both BGI Europe and Denmark. I believe this center also will strive to cultivate joint collaborations between China and Europe”, says Director of BGI Europe Ning Li.
Creating a genome atlas
With grants from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (HTF) two integrated projects led by researchers from the University of Copenhagen will be initiated in the centre. One project is to identify previously unknown pathogens that will lead to the development and patenting of commercial vaccines and the other is to establish a unique catalogue of the millions of variations in Dane’s DNA. The genome atlas will serve as the foundation for new studies that will cast light on the hereditary causes for a number of common diseases, as well as the treatment and prevention.
Prorector for the University of Copenhagen, Thomas Bjørnholm, has been one of the driving forces behind establishing the centre.
“According to Chinese astrology, we entered the year of the dragon just a few weeks ago. When the dragon arrives, it means that big things occur. Now BGI Europe is born, and we can expect something big. Both the facilities and the Danish and international scientists behind the centre are state-of-the-art. The vision is to create the best facilities in the fields of genomics and bioinformatics, so that we have an opportunity to utilise knowledge on genes and better Denmark’s possibilities of preventing and curing diseases.” says Prorector Thomas Bjørnholm.
1200 square metres of laboratories
BGI Europe will open their new laboratories in COBIS (Copenhagen Bio Science Park) in close connection to the University of Copenhagen’s North Campus area. The new 1.200 M2 facility has been equipped with technologically advanced equipment that will help accelerate the innovation and development of genomics research and applications in Europe in healthcare, agriculture, bioenergy and other related fields.
The opening ceremony will be held at the Copenhagen Biocenter at the University of Copenhagen. Co-founder and Chairman of BGI Professor Huangming Yang, Minister of Trade and Investments Pia Olsen Dyhr and University of Copenhagen Prorector Thomas Bjørnholm will attend the opening ceremony of the centre together with 120 other guests from leading European research centres, universities and business organisations.
Project Coordinator Anders B. Damholt
Department of Biology
University of Copenhagen
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