Transcript of "Estonian Genome Center Development Plan 2011-2016"
Approved by the EGCUT board decision nr 01/14, on December 10th 2010 Estonian Genome Center of the University of Tartu Development Plan for 2011-2016I IntroductionThe development plan for the Estonian Genome Center of the University of Tartu(EGCUT) for the period of 2011-2016 outlines the development goals of EGCUT forthe next six years and highlights the main directional activities to be undertaken toreach those goals.The development plan drafted was guided by the statute of EGCUT, current TartuUniversity development plan together with its operational program and the EstonianHuman Genes Research Act (HGRA) with its legislation.II Vision and missionThe vision of EGCUT is to become a considerable genome center in Europe thatmanages and develops the EGCUT’s database, conducts internationally competitiveresearch, and continuing education at different levels at Tartu University.The mission of EGCUT is to promote and advance the development of geneticstudies, gather the population’s health data and hereditary information, apply theresults of genetic studies for the improvement of public health, and to be the mainforce in the development of personalized medicine in Estonia.III Functions/Operation/ActionsManagement and development of the genome bankEGCUT keeps and manages the genome bank, periodically renewing and updatinghealth information as well as tissue samples (taking into account that the applicabletime period of the cohort consisting of 50,000 gene donors is between 25-30 years).Starting from the year 2011, the EGCUT database will be augmented by additionalgene donors using other, less intensive methods. Since the collaboration with theGerman National Cohort (genome bank) and the Nordic Biobank Consortium isconsidered to be of particular importance, EGCUT needs to study our gene donors inthe coming period applying the same methods as these two groups.The social network of data collectors among the family practitioners as well ashospitals, will be maintained and utilized for occasional follow up purposes, specialprojects and other occasions.EGCUT is part of a research infrastructure, and informational enrichment is one of themain objectives for the coming development period. The goal is to create at least 1
20,000 new “gene cards” with microchips, sequence at least 2,000 full “exomes” and“transcriptomes”, and sequence 1,000 full genomes.Providing feedback to gene donorsBy 2016, arising from the Human Genome Research Act (HGRA), EGCUT willensure the interested gene donors the opportunity for genetic counseling toaccompany their genetic risk evaluation. For that purpose, together with the Faculty ofMedicine of the Tartu University, EGCUT will create a continuing educationprogram. Together with the Faculty of Medicine, EGCUT will carry out thiscontinuing education program in order to prepare family practitioners and otherappropriately qualified doctors for offering first line genetic counselling in the future.The aforementioned activities are financed by several ministries of the EstonianGovernment, by several Estonian and European science funding agencies, andthrough the European Commission.Linking research with the development activitiesEGCUT is the leading genome center in Estonia that is conducting internationallycompetitive research in collaboration with all interested institutions both locally andinternationally. EGCUT is a center identified for the Estonian and European Research(Infrastructure) Roadmap, a partner for the Centre of Excellence in Genomics, and hasa topic for targeted financing and a grant from the Estonian Science Foundation.Additionally, together with the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, EGCUTis participating in the European Strategy Forum on the Research Infrastructures’project ”Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure” (BBMRI)and is one of the charter members of the international biobank consortium ”PublicPopulation Project in Genomics” (P3G). The forementioned achievements are allprerequisites for EGCUT to be one of the significant genome centers in Europe.EGCUT is actively participating in the research conducted in Europe by being one ofthe connecting points to coordinate the biobanks in Baltic States. Similarly to otherEstonian research and development centers, the financing of the research is donethrough applications for targeted financing, participation in contests of Centres ofExcellence in Research, applications for financing from Enterprise Estonia (EAS) aswell as other possible international sources including FP7 and FP8.The results evident from the research are published in scientific journals, books andrespective internet publications. When qualified, intellectual property protection willbe applied for the new results. EGCUT research results are regularly presented atinternational conferences.StudyAs EGCUT is a research and development center of the University of Tartu, with anessential infrastructure and quality of research, creating programs for universitydegrees is a natural part of the development of the genome center. EGCUT isplanning to develop, together with other interested allies, a new PhD degree programin genomics, genetic epidemiology and biostatistics that would be in English and ofan internationally significant level. A corresponding Master’s Degree program wouldbe developed in the future. 2
Strengthening the material baseTo achieve the aforementioned objectives, together with other institutions of theUniversity of Tartu and the Estonian Biocentre, EGCUT will establish a state-of-the-art laboratory base. This laboratory, built as part of the laboratory body of theEstonian Biocentre at Riia 23B and equipped especially for EGCUT, will be ready tobe occupied by November 2011. Among the other state-of-the-art laboratoryequipment, the new laboratory will be equipped with automatically filled liquidnitrogen tanks and a Hamilton robot able to automatically “pick” a DNA sample outof the collection of 10,000.Ensuring the functionality of the organizationEGCUT will continue to follow the standard of ISO 9001:2008. Outdated IT solutionswill be updated to enable secure data storage, aiding in the application of the data forresearch as well as in the health care system. The database of EGCUT will beintegrated with other national registries, the Estonian Health Information System andother appropriate registries and databases when necessary. Using the results risingfrom the research conducted by EGCUT, the genome center will start providingfeedback to gene donors, thereby being the pioneer in personalized medicine inEstonia.Serving societyEGCUT collaborates with the public and private sector, both nationally andinternationally (including non-profit organizations, foundations and otherorganizations), to fulfil the stated goals. The activities of EGCUT support the researchand studies carried out in the field of medicinae and realia et naturalia as well as theapplication of the unique equipment and resources of the biobank. EGCUT will applythe results from the genetic studies for the improvement of overall public health.OutreachEGCUT popularizes the field of genetics, promoting the field of science overall byinforming the public of new technologies and medical achievements via national andinternational training programs, conferences, information days and the internet. Thegoal is to raise the standards of science in Estonia in the fields of genomics, humangenetics, genetic epidemiology, biobanking, biostatistics and related specialties.Public opinion regarding EGCUT activities is studied periodically.IV StructureThe structure of EGCUT, in addition to what is mentioned in the statute, includes thedepartment of data collection, IT department, research laboratory, and theadministrative group that includes the director’s assistant, marketing andcommunications manager, contracts and assets administrator and others.The goals for the next six years include increasing the number of employees withacademic degrees, expanding the areas of specialization –for example, in addition toEstonian scientists, attracting specialists from abroad who have been specializing inareas lacking local specialists. These areas include genomics, genetic epidemiology,bioinformatics, biostatistics, human genetics and genetic counseling.EGCUT has the aim of raising the qualification of its employees, promotingcontinuing education and retraining. Particular attention is paid to creating a healthy 3
work environment for employees, periodic health checks and meeting occupationalsafety standards.V ApplicationThe development plan is a strategic document for EGCUT and serves as thefoundation when preparing for yearly policy papers/guidance documents/orientationdocuments and the associated budgets.The director of EGCUT is the lead and responsible for the preparation of thisdevelopment plan. The EGCUT committee will review the development plan yearlyin a sitting during the 2nd quarter of the year.The international steering committee will review the development plan as well as themanagement report and provide suggestions regarding the specifications of the futuredevelopment plan. 4