SAN DIEGO (August 11, 2011) A major Center that will propel scientific efforts to pinpoint the specific genes involved in causing immune diseases, cancer and other diseases will be opened today at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology. Utilizing a Nobel prize-winning technology known as RNA interference (RNAi), the Institute's new RNAi Center will be a catalyst for accelerating discovery toward new therapies against myriad diseases, and is one of a small, select group of dedicated RNAi facilities worldwide.
"Today's opening of our RNAi Center represents a milestone for fueling research on the genetic basis of diseases," said Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., the La Jolla Institute's president and chief scientific officer, and the RNAi Center's co-principal investigator with Anjana Rao, Ph.D., a prominent genetics and cell biology researcher recruited from Harvard Medical School last year. "Our Center will focus the collective talents of an exemplary group of RNAi researchers on understanding the genetics behind disease processes of all kinds, and will use that knowledge toward developing new therapies to treat disease."
The Center, to open today with a formal dedication ceremony, was funded through a $12.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), and is designed to be a collaborative, openly available resource for the scientific community. "The RNAi Center will be open to scientists at academic research institutions on the Torrey Pines Mesa and around the country and is welcome news to our colleagues at Salk, Scripps, and UC San Diego, who wrote letters of support for our RNAi grant proposal," said Dr. Kronenberg. The Scripps Research Institute is already involved, with two of its scientists, David Nemazee and Changchun Xiao, Ph.D.s, to lead one of the Center's first four projects.
The RNAi Center's four initial projects were funde
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La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology