The central research mission of IBGS is the support of research into the mechanisms by which molecules and cells coordinate organism development and function using model systems and genomics approaches. Basic scientists working with a broad range of experimental tools across genetically tractable organisms and systems of reduced complexity will define the normal and pathological functions of the new human disease genes that emerge from the genomics revolution.
IBGS is founded upon the pioneering work done by the Program for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (PMBB) over the last 30 years at UNC-CH. The original mission of the PMBB was to develop an interdisciplinary research and training program between the School of Medicine (SoM) and the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) that promoted research, training, and cutting-edge technologies in the broad area of molecular biology, thus strengthening UNC-CH’s research competitiveness in the biomedical sciences. In accomplishing this mission, the PMBB was instrumental in developing and fostering the collaborative “no walls” culture that is universally valued across the biological (CAS) and biomedical (SoM) research enterprise, thereby making UNC-CH one of the most collaborative of any research University.
IBGS will foster quantitative and genomic approaches for the study of development, ranging from the biochemical function of individual molecular machines performing fundamental cellular processes to the physiology of whole organisms. The strategy will be “functional genomics”, broadly defined as basic research into genome structure and function as well as the molecular mechanisms by which the RNA and proteins encoded in the genome direct cell, organ and whole organism functions. We will emphasize the use of experimental systems that combine the power of genetic, biochemical/chemical, and cell biological approaches, including non-mammalian model systems such as yeasts, flies, worms, frogs, zebrafish, and plants. Discoveries made using these model systems have and will continue to provide numerous paradigms of cellular function and organ development that are important to the etiology and treatment of human disease. IBGS will lead initiatives to integrate information from model systems with ongoing translational studies in the School of Medicine to maximize output from new discoveries in basic biological research that can inform human health issues.