USF Heart Institute Opens New Genomics Laboratory In Tampa

Did you know your genetic makeup can predict your risk for disease, severity of certain diseases and how they will respond to treatment?

The University of South Florida (USF) Heart Institute is opening a genomics laboratory on May 14 that will use state-of-the art technology and equipment to study this unique, personalized approach to medicine.

The 7,550-square-foot space is located on the fifth floor of the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute and will house technology-heavy laboratories to conduct intensive research on regenerative medicine, genomics (DNA analysis), personalized medicine and heart disease prevention and treatment.

Rather than a traditional trial and error or "one drug fits all" approach, personalized medicine uses individual physiology and genetic makeup to determine the best treatment options.

"The way medicine is practiced today, we don’t take advantage of this wealth of information that can be obtained from someone’s genetic makeup," says Dr. Stephen Liggett, vice dean of research for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. Dr. Liggett was brought to USF in June of 2012 specifically to develop a program to work on genetic medicine.

The lab was funded by a combination of $8.9 million in funding from the State of Florida and Hillsborough County. Additional funding is being sought to build a larger, stand-alone Heart institute. Future plans for the genomics lab include working with The Villages retirement community in Tampa to gather information from their electronic medical records.

USF plans to hire seven additional faculty and post-doctoral fellows as well as technicians to work in the space.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Dr. Stephen Liggett, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine

Read more articles by Megan Hendricks.

Megan Hendricks is a feature writer at 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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