The Jackson Laboratory Seeks 60 Scientists Now in Connecticut to Tackle Some of Humankind’s Most Pressing Diseases With Precision

Published: Mar 03, 2017

The Jackson Laboratory Seeks 60 Scientists Now in Connecticut to Tackle Some of Humankind’s Most Pressing Diseases With Precision Medicine March 1, 2017
By Renee Morad, Breaking News Staff

At The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), physician-scientist Dr. Travis Hinson uses genomic approaches to interrogate mechanisms of inherited cardiovascular disorders that could lead to heart failure, building on JAX's expertise in human genetics, stem cell biology, tissue engineering and computational methods. Then, traveling to the University of Connecticut Health Center, where he maintains his clinical practice, Hinson treats patients with genetic forms of heart failure.

This is just one example of the kind of research happening at The Jackson Laboratory, an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution focused on speeding the path of discovery from the laboratory bench to clinical care. With facilities in Bar Harbor, Maine, Farmington, Conn. and Sacramento, Calif., JAX scientists research the complex genetic causes of disease and develop genomic solutions in the ever-expanding area of precision medicine.

In the next six months, JAX plans to hire about 60 additional world-class genomic scientists and researchers, IT/software engineers, computational scientists, and staff as it expands its footprint in its Connecticut facility and continues to tackle humankind’s most devastating genetic diseases, from heart disease and cancer to Alzheimer’s, glaucoma, addiction, autoimmune diseases as well as rare diseases. The institution also enables research and education for the biomedical community, so together the industry as a whole can inch closer toward more effective, precise and personalized ways to treat, prevent and cure human diseases.

At the Jackson Laboratory Career Forum in Farmington on March 28 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., attendees will have a chance to learn from world-class scientists about cutting-edge research, engage with senior business leaders, and meet with hiring managers to discuss openings in computational science, genomic research, IT/software and post-doctoral roles.

“We recruit world-class faculty from across the globe to conduct research in various areas and drive the forefront of precision medicine,” says Mandi Marcino, manager of talent acquisition for JAX.

At JAX, the gathering of some of medicine’s top minds has sparked a collaborative environment where research breakthroughs are more the norm than the exception. Scientists are receiving grants to examine the possible role of the microbiome in cancer, build new mouse models that truly represent patients with Alzheimer’s disease on a quest to break the bottleneck of Alzheimer’s drug development and much more. JAX also recently received a $6.7 million federal research grant to create a 3-D genome map, which will be led by JAX professor Yijun Ruan, who pioneered an advanced genome technology.

The thriving research hub is also helping to shape and nurture the bioscience industry in Connecticut. In 2011, the state of Connecticut committed $864 million to build its bioscience industry as part of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Bioscience Connecticut Initiative. JAX’s 183,500-square-foot genomic medicine facility was unveiled in October 2014, and with it came a bold promise to fill 195 positions by 2015—a milestone that was quickly surpassed.

“When we opened JAX’s Farmington campus in 2014, I was the second hire and the excitement was—and still is—palpable,” says Yu-Hui Rogers, site director for The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. “The state of Connecticut’s long-term commitment to bioscience and The Jackson Laboratory’s reputation as a world-class research organization were big draws for me, and, as we’re finding with the incredible pace at which JAX is hiring, we are attracting to top scientists from around the world.”

Today, JAX has about 270 people in Farmington, including roughly 100 senior scientists with M.D. or Ph.D. degrees and 25 members of the research institution’s technical faculty. Overall, The Jackson Laboratory has more than 1,800 employees across all three locations.

Some of these positions [that will soon be filled] will be “highly specialized roles that only a handful of people would qualify for,” Marcino says.

From JAX’s recent discovery that vitamin B3 can boost the metabolic reliability of aging retinal ganglion cells, keeping them healthier for longer and helping to prevent glaucoma, to emerging research about utilizing new methods to harness the body’s regenerative powers to repair damage from heart disease, the research hub is making strides toward bringing a personalized approach to medicine to the forefront. And with each new breakthrough comes the potential to more effectively treat—and ultimately cure—some of humankind’s most pressing diseases.

“We have an incredible opportunity to enhance the field of personalized medicine to make a tremendous impact on human health, and I think that’s a major reason why some of the best research scientists in fields like cancer, the microbiome, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, addiction, and other diseases are joining JAX,” Rogers says.

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