Research

Our Primary Research Mission is to promote and enhance interactive genetics research across the UF campus. The UFGI will be built on a foundation of outstanding genetics research programs already in existence across the UF campus in such diverse fields as medicine, agriculture, chemistry, and engineering. Necessary synergy among these programs will be achieved by enhanced communication, the development of shared instrumentation and computing resources, and a coordinated effort to build the scientific portfolio of the campus in areas that are complementary rather than redundant. Specifically, we aim to achieve the following: To develop platforms and techniques for functional genomics and proteomics  research, i.e., research aimed at the discovery of the functions and  interactions of genes in complex systems. The ability to test the functions of  newly discovered genes in complex systems will be crucial to exploiting the  information generated by the human genome project and the mapping of other  genomes. Functional genomics research will require (1) specialized systems for  the manipulation of genes in complex systems (such as intact animals, plants, or  microorganisms); (2) novel methods to detect the results of such genetic  alterations on the regulation of expression of many other genes; and (3)  bioinformatics systems suitable for the rapid analysis of such data sets.  Examples of these sorts of technology include the expansion of research using  transgenic and knock-out animal models of human diseases, the development of DNA  chip microarray technology for detection of changes in the expression levels of  thousands of genes simultaneously, the development of parallel core equipment  for mass spectroscopic analysis of multiple proteins simultaneously, and the  creation of specialized databases and informatics tools to probe these  databases.          To establish shared bioinformatics resources for the analysis of genetic information and experimental data from genetic research. Since functional genomics nearly always entails studies in complex systems, the output from such research generally consists of large sets of data. Whether these data sets are generated from DNA microarray detection of the expression of thousands of genes simultaneously or from rapid screening of thousands of individuals for disease susceptibility genes, the problem of analyzing the data efficiently remains. Furthermore, as the modes of data generation evolve, so too must the information technology be adapted to support the corresponding data analysis. In order to meet this need, the Institute will assist in the creation of a Bioinformatics Core facility in which computer scientists, statisticians, epidemiologists and genetics researchers will collaborate to solve these problems. To establish shared bioinformatics resources for the analysis of genetic information and experimental data from genetic research. Since functional genomics nearly always entails studies in complex systems, the output from such research generally consists of large sets of data. Whether these data sets are generated from DNA microarray detection of the expression of thousands of genes simultaneously or from rapid screening of thousands of individuals for disease susceptibility genes, the problem of analyzing the data efficiently remains. Furthermore, as the modes of data generation evolve, so too must the information technology be adapted to support the corresponding data analysis. In order to meet this need, the Institute will assist in the creation of a Bioinformatics Core facility in which computer scientists, statisticians, epidemiologists and genetics researchers will collaborate to solve these problems.  To foster translational research aimed at putting genetic discoveries into  practical use in microbial, plant, animal, and human applications. One of the  central roles of the UFGI is to support research aimed at using genetic  discoveries to solve specific practical problems in agriculture, medicine and  environmental management. Specialized centers on campus that are focused on this  task include the program in plant molecular and cellular biology (PMCB), the  Powell gene therapy center (GTC), and the center for immunology and  transplantation (CIT). The PMCB program is involved in research and education  aimed at using genetic engineering of food crops in an attempt to promote  resistance to infection and infestation and to enhance productivity. The GTC has worked to develop improved gene delivery systems for treating human diseases. The CIT utilizes basic cellular and genetic techniques to discover genes that cause autoimmune diseases like diabetes. Each of these programs is already funded by multimillion-dollar federal research grants. Currently, these centers are largely independent of one another. By housing members of the various centers together and providing key new shared technologies and facilities, the UFGI will create a truly interdisciplinary group for future progress in this area.