Legacy of the Penn Genome Frontiers Institute at the University of Pennsylvania (2001-2014)

Overview

The Penn Genome Frontiers Institute (PGFI), previously known as the Penn Genomics Institute, was established in 2001 as a Provostial institute to promote genomics at the University of Pennsylvania. PGFI has provided access to genomics technologies, assisted in the recruitment of an expanded genomics-related faculty, supported the research and service capabilities of bioinformatics and computational biology at the Penn Center for Bioinformatics (PCBI), expanded departmental and school-wide genomics cores and research, and funded interdisciplinary seed grants to facilitate genomics research. Education and outreach programs were also a vital component of PGFI. These programs kept the academic community current with genomics developments. They also helped the public understand areas of genomics that will affect personal health, the environment and other societal issues. PGFI closed June 30, 2014 after successfully fostering an environment where Penn researchers routinely produce world-class genomics research.

PGFI’s Mission

Leadership & Organization

David Roos, E. Otis Kendall Professor of Biology, was the founding director in 2001. From 2006 to 2014, Jim Eberwine and Junhyong Kim served as co-Directors of the Penn Genome Frontiers Institute. Dr. Eberwine is Elmer Holmes Bobst Professor of Pharmacology (Penn Medicine), a NIH Pioneer Award recipient who has also received a McKnight Foundation Technology Innovations Award, NIH MERIT Award and Ellison Foundation Senior Scholar Award. Dr. Eberwine, along with Dr. Kim, is a EUREKA grant awardee. Dr. Kim is Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor of Biology (School of Arts and Sciences) and has received many honors for his scholarship, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, Ellison Foundation Senior Scholar Award and the Sloan Foundation Young Investigator Award. Together, with the assistance of Associate Directors Tom Curran, Deputy Scientific Director of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, and John Hogenesch, Professor of Pharmacology, Drs. Eberwine and Kim implemented a scientific vision that leveraged Penn’s unique strengths toward the creation of a world-renowned genomics environment.

PGFI was located on the third floor of the Carolyn Lynch Laboratories on the southwest side of the Penn campus. PGFI space housed its administrative offices, conference space, High-Throughput Sequencing, Cell-Based Screening and Educational Facilities, and laboratory and office space for four of its members. PGFI provided administrative and facilities support for the on-site members. The remaining PGFI members resided throughout the campus within their home departments.

PGFI membership was open to Penn faculty, as well as to faculty in other Philadelphia-area research institutions. Membership reached 182 faculty members from five different schools across Penn (Medicine, Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Vet, Dental) and from five non-Penn institutions (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Wistar, Monell Chemical Senses Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Drexel University).

PGFI Program Highlights – brief summary

Scientific

Education and Outreach