HOUSTON, Oct. 17, 2007 Not too long ago, deconstructing and analyzing DNA codes took scientists several years and enough chemistry and computer hardware to fill the entire floor of a building. Now, a genetic sequencer the size of a washing machine can do the work in a couple of days.
Thanks to a $750,000 grant from the Cullen Foundation awarded to the University of Houstons Institute for Molecular Design (IMD), researchers will be among the first in the region to use this cutting-edge device. Headed by B. Montgomery Pettitt, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor in Chemistry, professor of computer science, physics, biology and biochemistry, and associate dean of research for the UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the IMD also recently received a $500,000 grant from the M.D. Anderson Foundation for construction and build-out costs associated with the Science & Engineering Research and Classroom Complex (SERCC).
A complex of three main structures, SERCC includes a five-story laboratory building with more than 150,000 square feet that will accommodate an estimated 40 research labs designed to support interaction. Among the buildings features are labs opening up to other labs with few walls to isolate them, as well as a dedicated, full-service clean room with a non-vibration floor, static-free environment and special air filters to remove virtually all dust particles. These new capabilities will allow for more collaborative, cross-disciplinary research among UH faculty in addition to benefiting local academic and industry partners who participate in the universitys research efforts.
Set to arrive by December, the $500,000 DNA sequencer made possible by the Cullen Foundation grant will help make UH a major player in genetic science by allowing the analysis not only of whole organisms but also of sampling with many organisms mixed together.
An organisms genome can contain the equivalent
|Contact: Lisa Merkl|
University of Houston