UC San Diego announced Monday a partnership with one of India’s oldest philanthropic organizations to study genetics with scientists in the South Asian country.
UCSD and the Tata Trusts, based in India, will establish the Tata Institute for Active Genetics and Society. The institute will have units in La Jolla and India.
The organizations said the aim will be to look for solutions to pressing issues in healthcare and agriculture, and to build up research capacity in India. The researchers will focus on the field of active genetics, which studies how genes can be altered to accomplish a goal.
“As one of the of the world’s top research institutions, we are committed to the global good,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. “This international collaboration to establish the Tata Institute for Active Genetics and Society will spark new scientific research and discoveries that will ultimately help us tackle some of the biggest challenges that face humankind in a socially conscious and ethical manner.”
A $70 million gift from Tata Trusts to UCSD, announced Sunday in India, will allow the school to create 10 endowed chairs that will help attract and retain scientists and faculty.
One of the objectives of institute research will be to develop strains of mosquitoes that are unable to propagate malarial parasites, UCSD biology professor Ethan Bier said.
“Recent discoveries in genetics have created a new understanding of genes — not only just what they are or how they work, but also how they change or can be altered,” said Bier, a pioneer in active genetics.
“This understanding, combined with novel technology of gene editing, has opened new areas for exploration that have potential applications in areas ranging from new health therapies, to prevention of the spread of disease, to agriculture uses,” Bier said.
The Tata Trusts consist of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust.
— City News Service