Guided by the profound vision of former President Dr. Yuan-Tseh Lee and thefounding Director Dr. Chi-Huey Wong, the Genomics Research Center (GRC) wasestablished in 2003. After Dr. Wong was elected the President of Academia Sinica,Dr. Chung-Hsuan Chen assumed the directorship and continues to work on buildinga strong research team since 2007.
Composed of both senior scientists as well as energetic and talented juniorresearchers, GRC research team has expanded to around 40 full-time faculties.Their specialties cover a broad range of fields from physics, chemistry, engineering,computation, biology, to medicine. We have also assembled a large team ofspecialists to support technology development and expertise build-up. These twounique features enable GRC to facilitate advanced interdisciplinary research. Inaddition to regular research staff, two other tremendous talent pools, ScientificAdvisory Board (SAB) and Joint Research Fellows, complement our researchprojects or the Center as a whole. All members in SAB are renowned scientists inthe world who advise GRC in both research and strategic planning on a regularbasis. More than 40 joint research fellows from major research institutes in Taiwanare a very valuable asset for projects involving interdisciplinary effort.
In our effort to screen new drug leads for various diseases, GRC has set a chemicallibrary of more than two-million compounds and the most efficient high throughputdrug screening facility in Asia. GRC has also established critical facilities for cellbiology and biomedical technology development, including mass spectrometerproteomic facility, NMR and X-ray facility for structure determination, microarrayand high throughput genome sequencer for genomic research, cell sorter andmicroscopy for cell biology, and phytotron for agricultural biotechnology. A newanimal laboratory is also among the highlights. These facilities can significantlyadvance frontier biotechnology development and drug discovery.
The major focus of GRC’s research is on the understanding of genes associatedwith diseases and their functions. Through new discoveries, new diagnosistools and new therapeutic strategies are expected to be developed. Increasedefforts will be placed on the pursuit of fundamental scientific advances throughinterdisciplinary programs, and the extension of basic discoveries to translationalresearch. Therefore, we organize three Divisions: Chemical Biology to developnew tools and molecules to target cancer and infectious diseases, Medical Biologyto pursue clinical potential for new medicines, and Physical and ComputationalGenomics to develop data analysis for drug prediction, and novel biomedicaltechnology development. In addition to these research Divisions, GRC has alsoestablished the Biotechnology Incubation Center (BIC) for pursuing technologytransfer to convert important discoveries into commercialopportunities. Some of the scientific pursuits in GRC withgreat potential to be among the world leading researchinclude new drug design based on structure research ofmembrane protein, carbohydrate chemistry and structurebiology, the relationship of molecular biology modulationand disease, high throughput technology for drugdiscovery, infectious disease and vaccine development,immunotherapy, evolutionary bioinformatics, cancer stemcell, biological mass spectrometer development and fastbiomarker search. We strive continuously to make GRCa place that inspires as well as fulfills innovative ideas.
To foster young and promising students to join the field of advanced research,GRC currently has joint PhD programs with two top universities - National DefenseMedical Center and National Yang-Ming University. GRC faculties have also beenparticipating in the Taiwan International Graduate Program (TIGP) and otherdegree-given programs collaborated by Academia Sinica and local universities.
Up to present, GRC members have published around 600 papers and have filed over160 patents. GRC is very competitive compared to all peer institutes in Taiwan andAsia. To date, BIC has recruited nine highly respectable biotechnology companiesthat licensed technologies from Academia Sinica. Two of these nine companieshave commercially produced proprietary products and hence become independentto build up their own manufacturing facilities. With rapid increase of inventions at Academia Sinica and the more favorable industrial environment for start-up biotechcompanies in Taiwan, we expect that the number of these successful start-upcompanies will grow rapidly in the foreseeable future.
We will continue to pursue fundamental scientific research through interdisciplinaryprograms. The basic discoveries will then be extended to translational research.Our future perspective is to play a more critical role in pharmaceutical andbiomedical device industry in Taiwan.