The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is adding a new, multi-disciplinary research program.
The program, which will be known as Functional and Chemical Genomics, will focus on understanding the genetics of disease through the use of model systems. It will be led by David Jones, Ph.D., who joined OMRF in 2013 and holds the Jeannine Tuttle Rainbolt Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at the foundation.
The program will combine the latest technologies in genomics, functional genomics, model systems biology, chemical biology and computational analyses to tackle fundamental questions emerging from genetic and epigenetic studies of disease.
“Our goal is to scale biology in a way where we learn a lot more, faster, and we’re selecting topics that can impact human health,” says Jones. “We’ll use biological understanding to define chemical mechanisms and create opportunities for therapeutic intervention.”
The new program occupies newly renovated space at OMRF, which is home to 50 principal investigators more than 400 staff members. Founded in 1946, OMRF is one of only 10 institutes nationwide designated by the National Institutes of Health as an Autoimmunity Center of Excellence.
Discoveries from OMRF’s labs have given birth to a pair of life-saving drugs currently available worldwide. Its faculty counts, among others, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Pew Scholar and the medical director of the Lupus Foundation of America.
The new program will use computational and genetic model systems such as yeast, the roundworm C. elegans, zebrafish, fruit flies, mice and stem cells. Those systems will be utilized to evaluate genetic and epigenetic alterations in normal and diseased states.
“The vision is to take a cross-disciplinary approach to study a broad spectrum of human health problems,” says Jones, who also serves as the Deputy Director of Translational Research at the University of Oklahoma’s Charles and Peggy Stephenson Cancer Center. “The tools and methods we’ll develop may be applied to conditions ranging from cancers to cardiovascular illness to autoimmune diseases.”
The program is currently recruiting principal scientists. Those researchers will join Jones in highly collaborative laboratory space that features access to state-of-the-art mouse and zebrafish facilities as well as core labs in flow cytometry, imaging and next-generation DNA sequencing.
To learn more about the open faculty positions in OMRF’s Functional and Chemical Genomics Research Program, please click here and search job postings.