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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, May 08, 2019 3:57 pm

Verbatim: Notre Dame gift aids pharmacogenomics program at Manchester

The following was received on Wed., May 8, 2019:

The University of Notre Dame has donated a Sequenom MassARRAY Analyzer 4 System to Manchester University for its master’s degree program in pharmacogenomics (PGx). 

This donation enables Manchester graduate students to gain experience with this advanced analytical platform. The system combines mass spectrometry, sensitive and robust chemistry, and advanced data analysis software to meet the assay design, validation and performance needs of genomic laboratories. 

It is valued at $240,000. 

“Adding this instrumentation to our laboratory capabilities will also expand research efforts in PGx, where we continue to examine the relationship between an individual’s DNA and their response to medications,” said Dave Kisor, professor and director of pharmacogenomics education at Manchester. 

The instrument will broaden Manchester’s teaching and research capabilities. 

“The analyzer allows us to further look at DNA in the context of epigenetics, and how genes are turned on or turned off,” said Carrie Hoefer, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacogenomics. Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. 

Manchester continues to be a national leader in pharmacogenomics education. It started the nation’s first dedicated master’s degree in PGx in 2016 at its Fort Wayne campus. The program expanded to include an online format in 2018. Later that year, it introduced a dual-degree program in which pharmacy students can choose to simultaneously earn a master’s degree in pharmacogenomics along with their Pharm.D. It was the nation’s first such program. 

The Manchester PGx laboratory in Fort Wayne is utilized by on-campus, dual degree and online students for intensive laboratory experiences. 

“The ability to expand education in the laboratory setting is critical as our graduates move to positions in the PGx industry, research laboratories and health care settings, where the field is expanding,” Kisor said. “This generous gift from Notre Dame speaks to a keen recognition that they could contribute to the education of students beyond their institution, and Manchester is very appreciative of this contribution.” 

Notre Dame acquired the analyzer from Agena Bioscience.