Combining medical, agricultural and chemical research, UF Genetics Institute is,,making an impact and attracting renowned scientists

GAINESVILLE --- Combining computer technology with molecular biology -- a union that may improve the study of disease development such as cancer -- is the newest marriage of genetic sciences being forged by the University of Florida Genetics Institute.

The institute may be unknown to some, but the initiative involves a team of leading-edge scientists who already have garnered about $20 million in annual federal research support. Competing for that money is a host of university-based genetic research centers being organized across the country, but the Florida institute stands out for its heavy use of medical, agricultural and chemical research, three disciplines not usually allied.

Soon to join the UF Genetic Institute is R. Frank Rosenzweig, the interim chair of the department of biological sciences at the University of Idaho. Rosenzweig is the first scientist hired specifically for the Genetics Institute, which was approved by the Florida Board of Regents this summer.

"Dr. Rosenzweig brings with him a state-of-the-art technology that combines powerful computer technology with molecular biology in a way that allows one to monitor the activity of thousands of genes simultaneously," said Terry Flotte, the interim director of the UF Genetics Institute.

His technology was developed to examine the expression of all 6,000 genes from brewer's yeast simultaneously. But, Flotte said, the same technology will be used to study complex processes in human cells, such as the development of cancer.

"I am convinced that only now are we in a position to realize completely the promise of molecular genetics," Rosenzweig said this week. "Florida's Genetics Initiative could not be better timed; through its willingness to commit major funding to genomics research, UF will place itself in a position not only to capitalize on sweeping changes in biomedical research, but also to play a role in shaping the research ag

Contact: Dr. Terry Flotte
University of Florida

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