News Release: Research, School of Medicine

Apr. 29,  2009

New Emory-GRA Core Center for Genomics Opens

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Emory University has announced the opening of the Emory-Georgia Research Alliance Genomics Center, equipped with two state-of-the-art "next generation" DNA sequencing instruments.  These technologies offer the ability to read 1,000 megabases in a single experiment. For comparison, the entire human genome is just over 3,000 megabases (3 billion letters or DNA base pairs).

Scientists around the world have used these technologies to:

  • Characterize newly identified bacteria and viruses
  • Map epigenetic differences between human cells that play a critical role in differentiation
  • Find the genetic differences between healthy tissue and tumor cells
  • Track how HIV mutates in response to antiviral drugs
  • Sequence entire human genomes
  • Identify thousands of microorganisms that make up natural communities, whether in the open ocean or in the human body

"The advent of next generation sequencing technology has turned what used to be a big genome project into a small one," says Emory-GRA Genomics Center Director Timothy Read, PhD, associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases) and Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine. "We are here to facilitate whatever research projects the Emory community, academia and industry investigators can dream up, and offer advice with data analysis.  We also believe these sequencing technologies will have an increasing presence in clinical medicine in the future."

"The revolutionary advances made in DNA sequencing in recent years, essentially reducing a genome center to a bench-top instrument, will allow Georgia scientists to make substantial advances in the post genome era," says Stephen T. Warren, PhD, William P. Timmie professor and chair of human genetics.

"This cutting edge technology for high throughput genetic analysis is a leap forward for the research community at Emory and in Georgia," says David Stephens, MD, vice president for research at Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

Services and price information for academic and industrial customers can be found here:

Previously, Read was head of the Genomics Department at the Navy's Biological Defense Research Directorate, and he has particular expertise in the bacterial pathogens such as Bacillus anthracis, the agent that causes anthrax. Laboratory manager Chad Haase has more than a decade of experience working in Emory's Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

About the Georgia Research Alliance

A model public-private partnership between Georgia research universities, business and state government, the Georgia Research Alliance helps build Georgia's technology-rich economy in three major ways: through attracting Eminent Scholars to Georgia's research universities; through helping create centers of research excellence; and through converting research into products, services and jobs that drive the economy.  To learn more about GRA, visit


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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