The New York Genome Center (NYGC) today celebrated its formal launch as a scientific and clinical consortium of academic and industry leaders focused on harnessing genomics to advance the understanding and treatment of disease.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg led dignitaries at a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the launch, held as part of NYGC’s inaugural scientific symposium. The two-day symposium also kicked off the opening of NYGC’s 170,000-square-foot new research facility in Manhattan.

“This new facility represents the intersection of the clinic and the lab—translational science. As a physician-scientist, I recognize the importance of uniting these two worlds. The collaboration we’ve formed with our member institutions will not simply just do great science but will work to save lives,” Robert B. Darnell, M.D., Ph.D, NYGC’s president and scientific director, declared in a statement. “NYGC will provide the leadership to change the standard of care of patients from day one.”

The symposium drew such prominent speakers as Harold Varmus, M.D., director of the NIH’s National Cancer Institute; Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., president of The Rockefeller University, James D. Watson, Ph.D., chancellor emeritus of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; and Tom Maniatis, Ph.D., chairman of Columbia University’s department of biochemistry and molecular biophysics. Dr. Maniatis also chairs NYGC’s scientific and clinical steering committee.

NYGC is an independent, nonprofit organization whose members include many of New York’s leading academic medical centers, research universities, and pharmaceutical, biotech, and technology companies. The consortium aims to create one of the largest genomics research facilities in North America, integrating sequencing, bioinformatics, data management, and genomics research.

NYGC said it is also committed to educating researchers, clinicians, students, and the general public through lectures and events on topics ranging from advances in sequencing and bioinformatics to the future of genomics and accompanying public policy and ethical considerations.

To date, NYGC has raised over $140 million in funds from its institutional founding members; from philanthropies that include the Simons Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies; and from strategic relationships such as the public-private New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Partnership Fund for New York City, and the Empire State Development Corporation, New York State’s economic development agency.

NYGC’s twelve institutional founding members include Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Columbia University, Cornell University/Weill Cornell Medical College, The Jackson Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York University/NYU School of Medicine, North Shore-LIJ Health System, The Rockefeller University, and Stony Brook University. NYGC also has associate members that include the American Museum of Natural History, the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and The New York Stem Cell Foundation.

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