The Edinburgh Genome Foundry specialises in the assembly of large DNA fragments, using a highly automated platform.
The Foundry is funded by three awards totalling £5M from UK Research Councils’ Synthetic Biology for Growth Programme, by over £1.5M refurbishment and technical support from the School of Biological Sciences and the University of Edinburgh, with further support from commercial partners Autodesk and ThermoFisher. At the formal opening of the Edinburgh Genome Foundry on 7 July 2016, the University recognised both these contributions and the ground-breaking work of the founding co-Directors (Doctor Patrick Cai and Professor Susan Rosser) and their team. The Foundry’s management structure will now be revised, reflecting the Foundry’s transition from the establishment phase to the operational phase. Dr. Cai and Prof. Rosser will join a new Executive Board, which will include senior university management to oversee the operational, financial and customer engagement activities of the Foundry. The Board will complement Dr. Cai and Prof. Rosser’s supervision of the founding research awards and maintain scientific input, as the Foundry’s operational processes and relationships to other stakeholders grow and develop in future.
Doctor Patrick (Yizhi) Cai, Chancellor’s Fellow in Synthetic Biology in the School of Biological Sciences, said: “The Foundry’s opening in Edinburgh realised a longstanding goal, to bring DNA assembly methods into the practice of modern biology. Our common aim is to ensure that many more researchers benefit from this combination of Engineering, Computer Science and Biology.“
Professor Rosser, EPSRC Leadership Fellow and Chair of Synthetic Biology in the Schools of Engineering and of Biological Sciences, commented: “Building DNA on a large scale is transforming our delivery of current biological research and our vision for future understanding of how cells and organisms operate. The Board will help the Foundry’s management to deliver this vision of high throughput DNA assembly to a wide academic and industrial constituency”.
Professor David Gray, Head of the School of Biological Sciences, congratulated the co-Directors: “Doctor Cai and Professor Rosser established a team with the technical expertise, drive and dedication to create the Foundry’s unique and highly automated platform, the first of its kind. We are grateful for the RCUK’s support of our vision, which brings a major, new dimension to the School’s world-leading research”.
Professor Lesley Yellowlees, Vice Principal and Head of the University’s College of Science and Engineering, said: “The University of Edinburgh is committed to support the most exciting and visionary scientific research and the researchers who deliver it. We are deeply grateful to Doctor Cai, Professor Rosser and their team for establishing the Edinburgh Genome Foundry and we look forward to celebrating its further successes in future”.
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