The UCL Genetics Institute (UGI) is the University College London's cross-faculty institution whose mission is to develop advanced statistical and computational methods for tackling major questions in life sciences. Its major, although not exclusive, remit is to focus on clinical and human population genetics. In that context, the UGI interacts closely with the community of UCL clinical researchers and has built links with major research initiatives, such as the Francis Crick Institute, eMedLab, Farr Institute and Genomics England.
The UGI is aims at being at the forefront of genetics research and at the centre of the revolution enabled by recent high-throughput genomics advances. It benefits from a world-class computational infrastructure and builds on its statistical, computational and biological expertise for the development of novel methodologies in the field of genomics. With these solid foundations, we hope to enable the translation of novel high-throughput technologies into understanding human health, the pathological mechanisms of human disease, and translating this knowledge into clinically relevant interventions and treatments.
The challenges that genetics must meet if it is to fulfil its potential in contributing to the improvement of healthcare include:
- Develop collaborations with the community of researchers at UCL and beyond, both clinical and non-clinical.
- Build the infrastructure to process and analyze the vast amount of omics data now routinely generated by life scientists.
- Develop the methodological tools to integrate these multi-layered datasets in a way that maximizes their insights.
- Timely translation of basic research into clinical practice.
The UGI will address these challenges through three strands of activity:
- Develop and establish strong basic and translational research through professorial units based at the UGI.
- Training postgraduates through taught masters and research degree programmes
- Provide outreach service for core support in bioinformatics and statistical genetics available to UCL and its partners.
The UGI is by design interacting with clinicians across the whole field of clinical research. Through grant applications and scientific publications, we have built collaborations with multiple partners, in particular the UCL Institutes of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Child Health and Cancer Institute. Cardiovascular diseases and pharmacogenetics are two other major areas of focus. This multi-disciplinary strategy is the core strength of the UGI, and it benefits from the extraordinary breadth of clinical research that is in place at UCL.