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Structural Genomics Consortium research centre established at Karolinska Institutet


The Structural Genomics Consortium, Karolinska Institutet, VINNOVA, Knut and Alice Wallenberg’s foundation (KAW) and The Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) today announces the establishment of a Swedish research node of the Structural Genomics Consortium.

A Swedish laboratory based at the Karolinska Institutet has been established by the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) in its ambitious efforts to unravel the structures of hundreds of proteins of biomedical importance. The laboratory aims to increase the number of structures produced by the SGC to over 400 in the next two years by contributing at least 50 new protein structures to the project.

Established as a charity, the Structural Genomics Consortium’s current mandate is to determine the three dimensional structures of proteins of medical relevance, and place them in the public domain without restriction. The target priority list is chosen based on the interest from the research communities, expertise within the Consortium and scientific impact.

The SGC utilises the vast resource of the Human Genome Project (HGP), which has given medical researchers and scientists the nucleotide sequence of the approximately 30 000 genes in the human body. Genes usually exert their function through the proteins they encode. The SGC has taken on the task of exploring the structure and function of proteins, providing information about their role in health and disease. Since July 1 2004, the SGC has been operating out of the Universities of Oxford and Toronto. During the first year of operation the SGC determined 78 novel structures of proteins with significant biological and disease impact.

“If new therapies and new medicines are to be developed, we need to uncover the exact structure of the relevant human proteins,” says Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, President of Karolinska Institutet. She continues: “It will then be more important to join consortia such as SGC, where several financers get together on joint projects at a national, even international level. In many cases, major projects could not otherwise survive, which is something we’ll see when it comes, say, to large epidemiological or biobank projects.”

“The SGC is incredibly pleased to have Sweden join the Consortium”, says Aled Edwards, the Chief Executive of the SGC, “There is a rich and strong tradition of structural biology in Sweden, and we are excited that the Swedes have joined us in the effort to achieve our charitable aims.” “We are delighted to welcome the new Swedish node to the SGC and look forward to the exciting new scientific and technological advances that this international partnership will bring", says Michael Morgan, chairman of the SGC Board of Directors.

“This is a unique opportunity for Sweden to join a leading international project in the biosciences”, says Pär Nordlund, Professor in Biophysics at Karolinska Institutet and local Scientific Coordinator of SGC Stockholm. “SGC is setting the standard for how Structural Biology rapidly can address fundamental biomedical questions.”

“We are very happy that Sweden is becoming the third link in this unique collaboration between world leading research environments in Canada and England concerning structure determination of medically important human proteins.” Staffan Normark, SSF, Erna Möller, KAW and Karin Markides, VINNOVA mean that this border crossing research effort will have significant positive effects on education, research and innovation in Sweden!

Sabina Bossi | alfa
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