The Illinois General Assembly officially recognized the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) for celebrating fifteen years of genomic research addressing major societal issues in the areas of agriculture, environmental conservation, health, wellness, technology, and society. The IGB houses a broad portfolio of interdisciplinary life sciences research on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus.
“Institutes devoted to advancing our understanding of critical topics such as food security, drug discovery, and technological innovation are essential for Illinois to remain a leader in the realm of scientific discovery,” said State Representative Carol Ammons, who represents the 103rd District. “We need exactly the sort of cutting-edge research in genomics, biology, and the life sciences that the IGB has been providing to the state over the last 15 years.”
Rep. Ammons filed and adopted a resolution which officially recognizes the 15th anniversary of the Institute and its societal, scientific, and scholarly contributions made to research within the state of Illinois.
The IGB was dedicated on March 29, 2007 with special funding from the Illinois Legislature, and operates under the mission of advancing life sciences research and stimulating bioeconomic development in the state of Illinois. Members of the IGB work collaboratively, utilizing a team-based framework that leverages expertise from many distinct disciplines in science and engineering and unites fundamental and applied research approaches to tackle grand scientific challenges.
Bringing in over $520 million in funding since inception, the Institute has established critical relationships with major industry partners such as Abbott, Bayer, BP, Dow AgroSciences, Illumina, IBM Systems, Intel Corp., and ZEISS Microscopy, as well as federal agencies including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and United States Department of Agriculture.
Leveraging the entrepreneurial and innovative qualities of the more than 200 institute faculty and affiliates, over 20 start-up and small companies have launched in areas including gene therapy, sustainable fertilizer, autonomous robotics, cancer therapeutics, synthetic biology, and diagnostic solutions.
As part of its commitment to advancing public engagement with scientific progress, the IGB also hosts a broad variety of outreach and education programs to promote awareness of the field of genomic research. Opportunities are offered for a variety of groups and age levels and include structured workshops for judges, CEOs, physicians and other professionals, summer camps for children, travelling art exhibits, and museum learning stations.
“The IGB has been at the forefront of genomics since its launch in 2007,” said IGB Director Gene Robinson, Swanlund Chair and Professor of Entomology. “During the ensuing 15 years we have made great strides in this emergent field, expanding to become the most comprehensive genomics institute in the country through a research portfolio spanning medicine, agriculture, energy, and technology. In that same timeframe we have also directed significant effort towards the critical goal of furthering public understanding and engagement with the life sciences.”