New global address for genomics and proteomics research
A magnet for the world's top genomics and proteomics researchers is being constructed at McGill University. The new building will be the final component of McGill's TechSquare and an integral part of the McGill University Health Centre.
Montreal Genomics and Proteomics Centre being constructed on McGill campus
A magnet for top researchers. The birthplace of great discoveries. A hub for Canadian innovation. A scientific milestone for McGill, Montreal and Quebec. These are just a few of the glowing endorsements describing Canada's newest research address: the Montreal Genomics and Proteomics Centre and Jamson T.N. Wong Laboratories for Bone and Periodontal Research (MGPC).
Currently rising on McGill University's downtown campus, on Dr. Penfield Ave. east of University St., the six-storey structure is being constructed at a cost of $31.6 million to help meet the critical demand for modern and cross-disciplinary research space. The facilities, which will be an integral part of the McGill University Health Centre, will be completed by fall 2002. Five groups will share 100,000 square feet of space in the MGPC: the Montreal Genome Centre, the Montreal Proteomics Centre, the Génome Québec Expertise Centre, the Bone Research Centre and a bio-business incubator.
United by a shared vision
The MGPC has become a reality, thanks to the vision and generous support of the following organizations:
- Canada Economic Development
- Génome Québec
- Genome Canada
- Ministère de la technologie, de la science et de la recherche du Québec
- Canada Foundation for Innovation
- Donner Canadian Foundation
- Mrs. Pierrette Wong, in memory of the late Jamson T.N. Wong
- Valorisation-Recherche Québec
- McGill University/McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)
$100 million in contributions
Over the next five years, the above partners will together contribute $100 million for the construction of the MGPC, its operations and equipment. (A gene-sequencing machine, for instance, can retail for $500,000.) Construction of the MGPC is seen as an essential step in giving Canadian researchers access to the latest equipment and the most modern of labs.
"The race is on to conduct studies of genes and chromosomes using information technology and robotics," says Dr. Abraham Fuks, dean of McGill's Faculty of Medicine. "We're extremely grateful to the CFI, Genome Canada, Génome Québec and our other valued partners. Because of their shared vision, Canadian researchers will be offered the facilities and equipment they need to remain at the forefront of the genomics and proteomics research race."
James Lund, dean of McGill's Faculty of Dentistry, is enthusiastic that genomics and proteomics researchers will share quarters with investigators from the Jamson T.N. Wong Laboratories for Bone and Periodontal Research. "Cross-disciplinary research is the key to future discoveries," says Dr. Lund. "These new facilities will allow us to increase collaboration to unprecedented levels."
Emil Skamene, scientific director of the Research Institute of the MUHC, says the multidisciplinary structure will change Canadian science and transform Quebec into one of the top 10 genomics and proteomics research centres in the world. "Boosting genomics research capacity is essential," Dr. Skamene says. "Genomics research is revolutionizing medicine and will greatly improve scientific approaches to disease diagnosis, treatment and human health."
Tom Hudson: the catalyst behind the project
Construction of the MGPC is the fruit of an intensive campaign by Tom Hudson, the visionary researcher who founded the Montreal Genome Centre in 1996. Dr. Hudson, who teaches at McGill's departments of human genetics and medicine and practices in the MUHC's immunology and allergy division, says construction of the new multi-purpose facilities is only the beginning.
"This new building will become embedded within the fabric of Quebec science," says Dr. Hudson. "I strongly believe in genomics and proteomics research that can provide a global view of biological systems. This requires the creation of large multidisciplinary teams. Thanks to these new facilities, everyone from engineers to biologists will work side by side on the science projects of the future. Investigators will share one mission: to examine the mass interaction between genes and proteins."
A recruiting magnet and business incubator
A unique feature of the MGPC will be its bio-business incubators that will occupy one entire floor. The MGPC will rent workspace for start-up genomic-based companies wishing to be closely linked with a university environment. What's more, personnel from these companies will be working in the same building as some of the country's leading researchers. The mingling of academics and corporate partners is expected to flourish and create a strong commercial potential for the MGPC.
Another significant component of the MGPC will be its recruiting appeal. Between 120 and 200 researchers will eventually be housed in the building. "It will be an extraordinary magnet," says McGill Principal Bernard Shapiro. Provost Luc Vinet agrees. "We're in a global competition for the best scientific minds," says Dr. Vinet. "Having the MGPC built will give all Montreal universities an edge in hiring top scientists from around the world who'll be eager for an opportunity to work here."
The MGPC will be an integral part of McGill's TechSquare - a North American research hub integrating information, materials and health sciences - comprising the Wong Material Sciences Building, the Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry Building, the Lorne M. Trottier Information Technology Building and the Rutherford Physics Building.