A Brief History of the Center
A strategic plan developed for the Division of Biology and Medicine in 1996 identified as a top priority the establishment of an interdisciplinary program in genetics. The Dean of the Medical School convened in 1999 a committee to investigate the development of a Brown-wide genetics program. The outcome was a recommendation to establish a Center for Genetics and Genomics. One of the most critical needs was identified as the establishment of modern and state-of-the-art research infrastructure. Core facilities in mouse transgenics and genomics/bioinformatics were identified as the most urgent priorities.
The COBRE Award
In January 2000 the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) issued a request for proposals to establish Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). Brown University submitted a proposal entitled The Center for Genetics and Genomics with Professor of Medical Science John M. Sedivy, PhD, as Principal Investigator (PI). The grant was funded in October 2000 for a period of five years. The COBRE was used as the platform to fund a large number of interdisciplinary research and pilot projects, to launch genomics and transgenic core facilities (both the first their kind in the State of Rhode Island), and to significantly upgrade an existing imaging core facility. Following its highly successful first five years, the grant was renewed by Dr. Sedivy in 2005 as the COBRE Center for Cancer Signaling Networks. Professor of Medical Science Walter Atwood, PhD, is the current PI and director of this COBRE.
The Center for Genomics and Proteomics
In July 2001 Ruth J. Simmons was sworn in as the 18th president of Brown University. President Simmons launched an ambitious initiative to enhance Brown's academic mission by enlarging the faculty, improving support for graduate students, and making substantial new investments in libraries, information technology, and academic space. Under this Academic Enrichment Initiative several important steps were taken in 2002 to transition the successes achieved by the COBRE Center for Genetics and Genomics into long term enhancements of the research infrastructure of the Medical School. First, it was decided to expand research activities to include proteomics, and to formally launch a Brown University Center for Genomics and Proteomics. This center, known as the CGP, gained final approval in 2006 and became an academic unit of the University, with Dr. John Sedivy was its founding director. Second, to provide much needed new blood for research in genomics and proteomics, new faculty positions were allocated to the CGP. Third, a building of 105,000 square feet (gross) was purchased and was renovated into a modern research facility.
The New Home of the CGP
The new research building, named the Laboratories for Molecular Medicine (LMM), is located in an old industrial sector in downtown Providence. The LMM is located 0.8 miles from the Brown campus and 0.3 miles from the hospital campus where the Rhode Island Hospital, the Women and Infant's Hospital, and the Hasbro Children's Hospital are located. The Brown and hospital campuses are linked with the LMM by frequent shuttle service. The LMM provides 74,000 net square feet of space on 5 floors, and houses, in addition to the CGP, a large number of laboratories from three different departments. The first floor houses a structural biology group and central core facilities for X-ray crystallography, NMR, genomics, and proteomics. The second floor is a rodent barrier facility and also houses the transgenic core and a rodent pathology core. Floors 3-5 house wet-bench molecular biology laboratories. The building includes a 90 seat lecture hall, seminar rooms on each floor, a stock room, and radioactive and hazardous chemical handling facilities.