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Center for Excellence in Immunogenomics (CETI)

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The UC San Diego Center for Excellence in Translational Immunogenomics (CETI) provides centralized genomics-focused translational research support applied broadly in the area of immunology. The overarching goal of CETI is to bring cutting-edge genomics approaches to new clinical applications and new investigators. We will provide support and resources that enable immunologists to address clinically relevant questions and facilitate translation of their discoveries to the clinic.

To do this, CETI will provide training in translational genomics to create and train a translational immunology community and educate clinical and basic scientist immunology investigators in applying genomics approaches.

CETI will facilitate the creation of multi-disciplinary translational immunology research teams with end-to-end support from participant ID to translational application by providing consultations, dedicated project management support and coordination among relevant ACTRI units for study execution. CETI brings together expertise from several ACTRI units including clinical research (CCR), genomics-optimized sample acquisition, processing and biobanking (Biobank), biomedical informatics (BMI), and computational genomics Center for Computational Biology & Bioinformatics (CCBB) to address research questions in immunogenomics and inform the development of rational therapeutics in immunology. 

Motivation

The immune system is central to many health issues, such as autoimmunity, infections and cancer (Figure 1). While traditional genetic approaches, including whole genome sequencing, are well-suited study to many diseases, technologies like epigenetics and epitranscriptomics that assess cell plasticity and adaptation to the environment are needed to understand immune regulation. To address this challenge, we will create the Center for Excellence in Translational Immunogenomics (CETI).

Creating clinician, basic and computational scientist partnerships is the pivotal first step for translational research in immunology. We will connect basic scientists, clinicians, medical informatics experts and computational scientists. The new teams will apply cutting-edge technologies like epitranscriptomics and single cell sequencing to study clinical problems in immunology. Our focus on immunology allows us to refine methods of engagement, training and support. Ultimately, we expect that our methods will catalyze similar efforts in other areas. CETI will create and educate immunology clinician-basic scientist teams, and help research teams design studies, collect samples, analyze data and translate data into clinically actionable results. Our goal is to facilitate the development of rational therapeutics based on an understanding of genomic and epigenomic processes in immunology.

Training

CETI will create an environment that builds skills in translational immunology research. We will foster collaborations through consultation services that help researchers navigate through regulatory processes. We will also connect clinicians and basic scientists, provide education so they understand each other's fields and provide services that link their research skills to create durable partnerships.  The following CETI training offerings are currently under development:

  • Translational Immunology Workshop
  • Translational Immunology Symposium
  • CREST Module in Biomarker Validation

Consultation & Facilitation

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CETI will provide consultations, study design, project management and facilitation of multi-disciplinary translational immunology research by linking together ACTRI clinical, laboratory and computational services (Figure 2). We will optimize cohort identification, sample collection and processing for omics analyses. Biosamples and data will be linked to clinical phenotype through our informatics platforms such as the Clinical Data Warehouse for Research (CDWR). CETI will perform data analyses that associate immune phenotypes with multiple omics platforms that translate data into clinically actionable results and inform the development of rational therapeutics in immunology.

Leadership / Co-Directors

Kathleen Fisch, PHDKathleen Fisch, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Center for Computational Biology & Bioinformatics
Co-Director, CETI
Email: kfisch@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858-534-9452

Dr. Kathleen Fisch serves as the co-Director of CETI and Executive Director of the UCSD Center for Computational Biology & Bioinformatics (CCBB). The CCBB is a collaborative center that provides investigators with computational expertise to analyze large molecular datasets, with a special emphasis in the areas of genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, systems biology and translational medicine. CETI will leverage the expertise of the CCBB to provide investigators access to bioinformatics analysis and interpretation to advance translational immunogenomics.

David BoyleDavid Boyle
Co-Director of Translational Research Technology
Co-Director, CETI
Email: dboyle@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858-822-0784

Professor David Boyle serves as the co-Director of CETI and is co-Director of the Translational Science Partnership unit of the CTRI. He has directed research programs focused on pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases and pioneered the use of synovial biopsy studies in arthritis to evaluate drug mechanisms of action. CETI will leverage his expertise leading the CTRI Biobank to provide investigators with genomics-optimized sample acquisition and processing.