The Integrative Genomics Building — which will be the new home of the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and DOE’s Systems Biology Knowledgebase (KBase) — will be dedicated Wednesday in an invitation-only ceremony at the Lab. Move-in is scheduled to begin in September.
JGI was established as a national user facility by the Department of Energy in 1997, bringing together the DNA sequencing, informatics, and technology development activities from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory into one organization.
JGI was the first to publish the sequence analysis of the target human chromosomes 5, 16, and 19, its original scientific mission. It has gone on to sequence scores of microbial species as well as several model organisms.
In our Three Questions For (3Q4) series, we asked JGI Director Nigel Mouncey to look back — and look ahead — at the JGI’s accomplishments and trajectory.
Elements: JGI has an outstanding 20-year history contributing to DNA sequencing. Looking back, what aspect of this legacy are you proudest of?
Nigel Mouncey: In its evolution from a sequencing center for the Human Genome Project, where JGI was responsible for sequencing three of our chromosomes — to becoming a world-leading user facility for genomic science for the environment and energy — JGI has demonstrated its continuous ability to build and lead scientific communities and develop the latest breakthrough technologies. I’m most proud of how the JGI team has driven these efforts to deliver the tremendous impact JGI has made on science.
Elements: How does JGI’s scientific mission fit into the Lab’s overall scientific mission?
Mouncey: JGI’s mission is to provide the global research community with access to the most advanced integrative genome science capabilities to support DOE’s research mission. We focus on large-scale discoveries using genomics and related technologies to investigate the genomes, metabolic pathways, cells, and communities of organisms involved in environmental processes and energy production. Our technical capabilities and ability to generate, process, and analyze tremendous amounts of data set us apart from other genome centers.
Elements: You must be excited about the move to a new building that is in the center of the Lab’s science campus. What type of challenges will your team be able to tackle at the IGB that you couldn’t do before?
Mouncey: It affords us a wonderful home and the opportunity to integrate into the Lab’s ecosystem. Our co-location with KBase will drive seamless integration of existing systems and the co-development of new tools and processes for analyzing data to derive novel insights. I’m excited about exploring new scientific spaces, such as biomaterials, working with colleagues at the Foundry, and generating structural data at the ALS to further elucidate the activity of important enzymes characterized through JGI’s sequencing efforts.
For more information on the history of JGI, go to jgi.doe.gov/about-us/history.