BGI Launches George Church Institute

October 27, 2017

By Bio-IT World Staff

October 27, 2017 BGI announced yesterday a joint effort with George Church and launched the George Church Institute of Regenesis, located in the China National GeneBank in Shenzhen, China. Church reportedly accepted the appointment as the chief scientist of the Institute. BGI made the announcement at the 12th Annual Meeting of the International Conference on Genomics (ICG-12).

The collaboration of applied synthetic biology will initially focus on the development of enabling technologies in high-density DNA storage, biomanufacture of natural products and genome editing for medicine and new therapies. A series of projects will start next year.

“We are very pleased to work with our longtime friend and supporter, Professor Church, in all the field of trans-omics, especially synthetic biology which is one of the most promising field of biotechnology,” said professor Huanming Yang, chairman of BGI, in a BGI press release. “This really fits our grand goal of advancing science and technology through innovative research beyond boundaries which will eventually benefit all the people in the world!”

Church is a longtime advisor to BGI. “The need and timing is great for Institutes for Transformative Biotechnologies,” Church said in the same press release. “We seek innovation in applied synthetic biology, Precision Medicine, in situ and omic diagnostics, and therapies. We believe this collaboration will be a highly successful undertaking.”

“Synthetic biology that writes life code is another major issue after wide use of genome sequencing. We’ve been putting efforts in this area for years and built up the largest synthetic biology platform in South China,” Xun Xu, Ph.D., director of BGI Research, said in the statement. “Professor George Church is a legend in this field for his creative achievements in gene editing and genome synthesis. With support of advanced technology platform of China National GeneBank, the collaboration between BGI and Professor Church will bring top resources and talents together to overcome current bottleneck issues and further improve the technology.