Stan Nelson, the principal investigator at UCLA, says that "adding ultra-high throughput genotyping for its user-base of ~10,000 investigators across the world keeps the Consortium current with the demands of the scientific community."
The Consortium is comprised of four nationally recognized centers located at Duke University in Durham, NC, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, AZ, the University of California in Los Angeles, and Yale University in New Haven, CT.
Initially funded in 2002 by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the Microarray Consortium is now supported by these two institutes as well as the thirteen other NIH Neuroscience Blueprint institutes and centers.
"The consortium that we have established over the past four years is a nation-wide technology outlet that dramatically accelerates the pace of neuroscience research," said Consortium Chairman Dr. Dietrich Stephan, who is also the director of TGen's Neurogenomics Division. "Implementing these high throughput genotyping services will ultimately make a dramatic impact in clinical care of neurological disorders."
About 10,000 investigators funded through the 15 different NIH institutes are part of the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint and have access to the technology and expertise within the national Consortium.
"Now," says Pate Skene, the PI at Duke University, "scientists investigating any aspect of the brain, behavior or neurological disease have access to a full range of microarray technologies for scanning the entire human genome and all of the genes for which it encodes."
Each of the four members of the Consortium offer specialized services. The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) offers both expression profiling and SNP genotyping on Affymetrix Genechips.
UCLA, in addition to the Affymetrix platform, processes Agilent arrays; Duke offers LCM services, Ambion mirVana arrays, and Operon oligo arrays; Yale offers expression profiling and genotyping on the Affymetrix platform and uses the Affymetrix exon arrays to look at splice variants, in addition to the new Illumina expression and genotyping capabilities.
The principal investigator at Yale, Shrikant Mane, says that the "Illumina platform provides an important complement to the other technologies currently available through the NIH Neuroscience Microarray Consortium and will significantly aid the research goals of the neuroscientist."