Genome Science at Cornell
Cornell Genome Science is thriving and taking the lead in deciphering the language of our genes for the larger community of scientists that will make fundamental discoveries in basic biology, human and animal health, and environmental and conservation sciences. This web site is a "hub" from which to access to our numerous faculty, research centers, Core laboratories and facilities, and graduate programs that together represent Genome Science at Cornell. Two university-wide Centers at Cornell serve to facilitate communication among faculty and students carrying out genomics research on the Cornell campus: The Cornell Center for Comparative and Population Genomics (3CPG) and the Cornell Center for Vertebrate Genomics (CVG).
To learn more about Cornell's genomic facilities and core laboratories, follow this link.
To learn more about graduate and postdoctoral study in genomics, follow this link.
What is Genome Science?
The human genome sequence was “completed” just over a decade ago. Yet, we still have only the most rudimentary understanding of how this 3-billion-character “instruction manual” choreographs the extraordinarily complex processes required for life for this most studied of all organisms. The genomes of an exponentially growing number of other animals, plants and microbes (including those associated with human body, the human microbiome) are now also being completely sequenced. Although this information has fueled new insights into gene function and regulation, the fundamental mechanisms by which the molecular building blocks of genomes interact with one another, and the spectrum of molecules and environmental factors that influence gene regulation, as well as normal and abnormal growth and development, remain poorly understood. Society is faced with many significant challenges from newly discovered pathogens to cancer, from environmental change to feeding a growing world population, and from personalized medicine to creating a sustainable world community. Our ability to address many of these challenges requires a much deeper understanding that we are now beginning to have of the fundamental processes of genome organization, expression and transmission.
Why is Genome Science Strong at Cornell?
In the past decade, Cornell-Ithaca has strengthened its expertise in many areas of the basic life sciences that are critical for interpreting biological function from genome data. Such fields include the molecular genetics of genome replication; DNA mutation, repair, and recombination; developmental and cell biology; nucleic acid and protein interactions; genome manipulation technologies in animal and plant species; nutritional and microbial genomics; stem cell genomics; and comparative, population and conservation genomics. By building on and integrating Cornell’s research excellence in these areas, together particularly with those in computational and statistical sciences, and applied and engineering physics, Cornell University-Ithaca is providing the leadership to address the scientific challenges of fundamental discovery in the emerging interdisciplinary field of Genome Science.
Innovative Approaches to Genome Science at Cornell
Cornell’s genome scientists are innovating and taking the lead in key discoveries linking genome variation to functions as diverse as human disease, agronomically important traits for food production and bioenergy, and pathogen biology and control. The data resulting from these studies are massive in scale, multidimensional, and highly complex. This poses major conceptual and quantitative challenges that Cornell computational biologists and statisticians are rising to meet, by developing and implementing tool kits of new analytical methods and approaches. Other partnerships between Cornell molecular geneticists and colleagues in applied physics and engineering are creating ground-breaking technologies that bring new precision and scale to the identification and analysis of functional elements of genomes and their role in the regulating gene expression. This perspective is comprehensive, ranging from the genome and cells to tissues and organisms in their diverse environments.
Cornell's Leadership Strengths in Genome Science
Cornell genome scientists are now in a unique position to pioneer the integration of computational and evolutionary methods, to profoundly enrich our understanding of gene regulation and expression with powerful new functional genomics technologies. Such a multidisciplinary approach is critical to the future of both comparative animal genomics and medicine, as recently emphasized by the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (Green & Guyer. 2011. Charting a course for genomic medicine from base pairs to bedside. Nature 470:204-12). Cornell-Ithaca’s unique strengths in the integrated study of genetic variation and function, both within and between individual species, as well as the translational application to human nutrition, animal health and disease, and to agriculture, provide a natural partner to Weill Cornell Medical College for the translation of this knowledge to advance human health and modern medicine. We can also provide the foundational training to our undergraduates and graduate students who will be the next generation of leaders in science, medicine and agriculture, as well as our future policy makers and leaders in government, law, business and insurance industries. It is critical that students throughout the university have sufficient understanding of genome science to contribute in an informed way to the relevant debates and policy decisions, and to enable them to make sound judgments in managing their own health and well being, based on increasingly available personal genomic information.