From January 1st, 2018 University of Tartu has a new Institute of Genomics, which was established by merging Estonian Genome Center and Estonian Biocentre (joined University of Tartu January 1st, 2018).
Institute of Genomics contributes to transdisciplinary research and application based on omics reseach and methods and also teaches University of Tartu students.
Institute of Genomics was established to promote greater synergy between genomic-based research, teaching and other scientific fields. This allows more effective collaboration with different research centres and universities and greater recognition among global scientific community. New institute also allows more effective use of infrastructure, competence, contacts and helps develop new partnerships with private sector.
Institute of Genomics is made up of four departments:
• Estonian Genome Center: Science Center gathers previous research groups of the University of Tartu Estonian Genome Center;
• Estonian Biocentre gathers previous research groups of the University of Tartu Estonian Biocentre;
• Core Facility Core facility operates the laboratory e.g. performing genotyping and sequencing and performs genetic data analysis;
• Estonian Genome Center collects genetic information about the Estonian population health and heridity, advances genetic research and applies findings in research in Estonian healthcare system.
From January 1st, 2018 Institute of Genomics is an independent institute, however, by January 1st, 2021 it will join the University of Tartu Faculty of Science and Technology. By the end of 2020, the board of Institute of Genomics will decide proposals for structural changes and by December 31st, 2020 a new name for the institute will be announced.
Institute of Genomics is managed by a director and two vice directors: Estonian Genome Center: Science Centre research and development vice director and Estonian Biocentre reseach and development vice director. Management also includes Core Facility manager and Estonian Genome Center manager.
From June 1st, 2018 the director of the Institute of Genomics is Mait Metspalu.
The institute has an international advisory board comprising top-level researchers and specialists in the field; its composition is approved by the council on the proposal of the director. The advisory board meets once a year to assess the work of the institute and its main development goals, advise the director and the council on choosing the directions for research and development activities, and on the issues regarding the development of the gene bank and make suggestions on other issues.
Advisory board members:
- Mait Metspalu, Director;
- Tõnu Esko, Vice Director;
- Lili Milani, Vice Director;
- Kristiina Tambets, Vice Director;
- Helene Alavere, Head of Data Collection Office:
- Triin Laisk, Associate Professor;
- Elin Org, Associate Professor;
- Erwan Pennarun, Research Fellow;
- Tuuli Reisberg, Manager of Sequencing Core Facility;
- Steven Smit, Head of the Biobank Lab
- Kertu Liis Krigul, Specialist;
- Mikk Jürisson, Research Fellow of Public Health, Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health;
- Aivar Kriiska, Professor, Institute of History and Archaeology;
- Maido Remm, Professor, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology;
- Jaak Vilo, Professor, Institute of Computer Science.
Board of Institute of Genomics was established in February 1st, 2018.
History of the Institute
Goverment of Estonia agreed to integrate Estonian Biocentre into the University of Tartu in September 2016. In September 2016, Ministry of Education and Research, University of Tartu, and Estonian Biocentre signed an agreement to begin the integration process. Previously, research and development board had shown support for the integration of the two. Until May 31st, 2018 the Institute of Genomics was lead by the Estonian Genome Center director Andres Metspalu.
The integration is supported by ASTRA (institutional development programme for research and development centres and universities), a programme, which in addition to supporting global recognition of Estonian research and developments centres and universities, also supports actions towards improving the effectiveness of the university systems.