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BGI establishes collaboration with George Church, a world-renowned scientist of Harvard & MIT, to develop synthetic biology technologies that enable innovative applications
Publish Date: 2017-10-26

On October 26th, during the 12th Annual Meeting of the International Conference on Genomics (ICG-12), BGI today announced a joint effort with Professor George Church and launch the George Church Institute of Regenesis.

Leveraging the scientific expertise from both parties, this new collaboration of applied synthetic biology will initially focus on the development of enabling technologies in high-density DNA storage, biomanufacture of natural products and genome editing for medicine and new therapy. Professor Church accepted the appointment as the chief scientist of the George Church Institute of Regenesis located in China National GeneBank, Shenzhen, China. BGI made a strong commitment to support research directed by Prof. Church both in China and in the United States. They plan to launch a series of projects starting from January 2018.

Professor Huanming Yang, chairman of BGI highly appraised this collaboration, “We are very pleased to work with our longtime friend and supporter, Professor Church, in all the field of trans-omics, especially synthetic biology which is one of the most promising field of biotechnology. This really fits our grand goal of advancing science and technology through innovative research beyond boundaries which will eventually benefit all the people in the world!”

Professor George Church is a longtime advisor to BGI, he has made significant contributions in the areas of next generation sequencing, CRISPR gene editing, synthetic biology, and several other transformative biotechnologies.

 “The need and timing is great for Institutes for Transformative Biotechnologies.  We seek innovation in applied synthetic biology, Precision Medicine, in situ and omic diagnostics, and therapies. We believe this collaboration will be a highly successful undertaking.” said George Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

“Synthetic biology that writes life code is another major issue after wide use of genome sequencing. We’ve been putting efforts in this area for years and built up the largest synthetic biology platform in South China”, noted Xun Xu, Ph.D., director of BGI Research. “Professor George Church is a legend in this field for his creative achievements in gene editing and genome synthesis. With support of advanced technology platform of China National Genebank, the collaboration between BGI and Professor Church will bring top resources and talents together to overcome current bottleneck issues and further improve the technology.”

About BGI Research and CNGB

Life Science Institute of BGI Shenzhen is a non-profit organization which devotes in life science, biotechnology and transomics development in applied medicine. It bears four visions: speeding up the development of biothech industry through fundamental scientific breakthrough; constructing omics-platform and innovative algorithms with lower price and higher throughput for agricultural and medical applications; leading project with significant social effect; and working in the frontier and advancing both academics and industry.

As a leading biotechnology organization, BGI supports dedicated efforts to promote applications in 11 different fields, including ocean research, novel resource in agriculture, bio-diversity, smart hardware, bio-chemistry, bio-big data, health & degenerative disease and mega-genome. It is home to 13 key laboratories and 7 engineering laboratories. Till July, 2017, researchers from BGI have generated over 2211 publications (1746 SCI articles) and over 2000 peer reviews, 314 of these are published on Giga science, Cell, Nature, New Engl J Med, or Science. They have been cited 108347 times in total; and it owns 13 registered software copyrights and over 100 patents.   

BGI has well-established expertise in genome reading and writing technologies. Its pre-eminence of this field is marked by a series of world-class achievements especially the profound involvement of the Synthetic Yeast Genome Project (Sc2.0) in this year.

CNGB, China National Gene Bank is the only gene bank that is approved and funded by Chinese government. It aims at supporting public welfare, innovation, scientific research, and industrial infrastructure construction.

CNGB has built an integrated infrastructure of “Three banks and Two platforms”. "Three Banks" represents the Biorepository, Bio-informatics Data Center and Living Biobank, while “Two Platforms” includes a Digitalization Platform and Synthesis and Editing Platform. Biorepository and the Digitalization Platform facilitate the sharing and digging of bio-data, to maximize the value of bio-data; Synthesis and Editing Platform provides acute support for development of industry, agriculture, medicine and health care; Living Biobank serves as a paragon in the recentthe Belt and Road” stratagem; Cooperative Alliance helps converging and sharing bio-resources on a global level.

About Professor George Church

George Church, professor at Harvard & MIT. His 1984 Harvard PhD included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing & barcoding. These led to the first genome sequence. His innovations have contributed to nearly all "next generation" DNA sequencing methods and companies. His honors include election to NAS & NAE & Franklin Bower Laureate for Achievement in Science. He has coauthored 453 papers, 105 patent publications & one book Regenesis