FORTH establishes the “Greek Institute of Human Genomics”
A new Institute, the only in Greece exclusively in the field of Genetics and Genomic Research, joins the large family of the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH), following a special amendment by the Ministry of Development and Investments and the approval of a relevant provision of law in the Parliament, on August 31st, 2022. The Greek Institute of Human Genomics (GIHG), is the newest Institute of FORTH and will be based in Athens. The GIHG will help to integrate Greece in this rapidly developing scientific field, and will support the Greek biomedical ecosystem, combining genetics and genomics, with computational and clinical research.
Genomic Medicine is a revolution in medical practice, as it is based on the extensive genetic diversity of each individual. The GIHG was created by the vision of internationally recognized researchers and it aspires to enrich the scientific environment of Greece and to become a world leader in research on genetic diversity and its connection with various monogenic and multifactorial diseases.
The study of the human genome is one of the most promising research directions towards understanding the myriad diseases associated with genome dysfunction. The discoveries related to the genome reveal the secrets of the mechanisms of diseases and pave the way for the development and provision of state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic services for the Greek population, in collaboration with other health institutions, as well as for the development of new treatments that address the cause of each disease and not just the symptoms.
The Institute’s mission is to conduct high quality, competitive, cutting-edge research in the field of human genetics, at the standards of leading centers abroad, as well as to provide services utilizing the diversity of local genomic variants and the history of the Greek population, aiming thus to improve public health.
The Deputy Minister of Development and Investments, Dr. Christos Dimas, said in this regard: “The establishment of the 1st Greek Institute of Human Genomics, within the structures of FORTH, marks a leap into the new era. Greece has the scientific potential and now it has the infrastructure and the necessary conditions, so that scientists and talented businessmen can feel confident that they can be competitive at an international level from within Greece. This is a very important development for research and life sciences in Greece and I am sure that the scientific potential of FORTH will yield important results.”
The General Secretary for Research and Innovation, Prof. Athanasios Kyriazis, said in this regard: “The Greek Institute of Human Genomics (GIHG) is another valuable cell that comes to be added to the research institution of FORTH. It is a very important research infrastructure that opens up new potential for further development of research in the biomedical scientific field, but also for new collaborations between the high level Greek scientists of this field and their colleagues abroad. It is through the Institute that the interconnection of the country’s scientific potential with the scientific web of genomic medicine will be expanded. The establishment of such Infrastructures, that open new perspectives for research development with a great impact on the quality of life of citizens, is firmly supported by GSRI and all those who have contributed to its implementation are worthy of our warmest congratulations”.
The internationally recognized, leading geneticist, Professor Stylianos Antonarakis emphasized: “It is a great day for biomedical research in Greece today because a framework of excellence was created for the exploration of the genome, of a huge book of information of each cell that contains the secrets of life, of development, of ageing, and of disease. I want to thank the exceptional researchers that contributed to this effort and for the incredible collaboration that led to the creation of GIHG. Their scientific excellence and experience is a guarantee for success. I also would like to thank the State for their enthusiasm and political will to create GIHG”.
The geneticist, Dr. Eleftheria Zeggini, Director of the Institute of Translational Genomics at Helmholtz Zentrum München and Professor at the Technical University of Munich, said: “Our country has remarkable human resources in genomics research, computational biology and clinical research. The new Institute will bring together all the necessary expertise to make a substantial contribution to the realization of promising genomic research to improve human health, as well as, to achieve innovation and translational ventures in the field of personalized medicine”.
Regarding the importance of the establishment of GIHG, the President of FORTH, Professor Nektarios Tavernarakis, stated: “It is with great enthusiasm, that we welcome to the family of the Foundation for Research and Technology, its 10th Institute, the Greek Institute of Human Genomics. We sincerely thank the State and especially the Deputy Minister of Development and Investments, Dr. Christos Dimas, the General Secretary for Research and Innovation, Prof. Athanasios Kyriazis, and the executives of their services for their continuous support and decisive contribution to this new pioneering endeavour. We also thank the President and the Members of the National Council for Research, Technology and Innovation (NCRI), who from the first moment firmly supported the proposal for the establishment of the Institute. The creation of the new Institute is a very important development in the field of biomedical sciences in Greece, at the same time creating extensive synergies with other research fields, indicatively, in mathematics, computer science, but also in other areas of natural sciences and humanities. The necessary conditions for the best possible utilization of the excellent human potential that Greece has in this area are also being created. FORTH will contribute with all its strength to the creation of this new Institute, with the conditions of excellence that will ensure its path to success towards the future.”
FORTH (www.forth.gr) is the largest research center in Greece, with 10 research Institutes and 3 Units based and active in 8 cities of Greece. The Foundation focuses on innovative interdisciplinary research directions of great social and economic interest with high added value. Its Institutes are active in areas covering the field of Natural Sciences and Engineering Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, as well as Humanities and Social Sciences. It has close collaborations with leading Academic and Research Institutions in Greece and abroad, emphasizing the education and training of young scientists. It contributes significantly to Regional Development in the regions where it operates and has a leading role in the planning and implementation of Smart Specialization Strategies in Greece.