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GUMC Partners With Oak Ridge Laboratory

November 3, 2008 – The Medical Center has entered into a five-year agreement with the largest federal multipurpose science and energy laboratory, which will allow scholars to analyze, manage and visualize complex molecular data collected at Georgetown.

The agreement formalizes the research relationship the university has with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and it will help facilitate additional biomedical research – particularly in the areas of structural biology, systems genetics, biomarkers, computational biology and radiation biology.

The Comprehensive Research and Development Agreement was signed by the Medical Center and Oak Ridge to make collaboration easier among researchers at both institutions.

“We are extremely pleased to be strengthening our collaborative research relationship with Oak Ridge National Laboratory,” says Dr. Howard Federoff, executive vice president for health sciences and executive dean of the medical school. “This collaboration brings us one step closer to being able to employ a systems-level approach to health and medicine and improve human health.”

Oak Ridge is the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory with a staff of more than 4,200, about 3,000 guest researchers a year and annual funding exceeding $1.2 billion.

As an international leader in a range of scientific areas that support the Department of Energy’s mission, Oak Ridge has six major mission roles: neutron science, energy, high-performance computing, systems biology, materials science at the nanoscale and national security.

“We are very pleased to establish this relationship with such an outstanding medical research institution and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Georgetown University Medical Center,” says Oak Ridge director Thom Mason.

GUMC and Oak Ridge already have several funded projects under way in the areas of cancer and physiology. These include:

·      A project that Stephen Byers, professor of oncology, and Oak Ridge’s Gary Van Berkel designed to develop ways to enhance the measurement of biomolecules that can be used to facilitate cancer diagnosis.

·      A project with Dr. Zofia Zukowska, chair of the of physiology and biophysics department, and Oak Ridge’s Brynn Voy that further defines the interface between genetic susceptibility to stress and obesity using a systems genetics framework.

·      A project with Dr. Minetta Liu of the oncology department and Oak Ridge’s Ram Datar utilizes a membrane developed by the Oak Ridge laboratories to help further Liu’s work to detect the earliest metastatic spread of cancer tumors using circulating tumor cells in patients’ blood.

“We have just begun this relationship,” Federoff says. “We look forward to exploring a variety of scientific areas by combining our complementary research strengths.”

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