Yijun Ruan, Ph.D., is first researcher to join The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Connecticut

Date: February 23, 2012
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Bar Harbor, Maine—Yijun Ruan, Ph.D., an American geneticist who has pioneered new techniques to sequence and map DNA to better understand cancer growth and stem cell properties, will be the first scientist to join the new Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX Genomic Medicine) in Farmington, Conn.

Dr. Yijun RuanRuan is currently associate director and senior group leader at the Genome Institute of Singapore and professor of biochemistry at the National University of Singapore. He is also an investigator with the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project, an international consortium of research groups funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Ruan said he was attracted by The Jackson Laboratory’s famously collaborative research environment, and plans to “take a community approach to tackle genomic questions through intensive collaboration.” Through innovating new technologies and studying how the human and mouse genomes are regulated, he said his goal is to translate research findings into personalized medicine. Ruan has also been appointed director of JAX Genomic Sciences, and will be bringing his current research program and team with him to JAX Genomic Medicine.

JAX Genomic Medicine will unite doctors, patients, scientists and industry to find new ways to tailor disease diagnosis, prevention and treatment to each person’s unique genetic makeup, or genome. Ruan and other recruits will begin initial operations this year in leased space while a 173,000-square-foot permanent facility is designed and built. Construction will begin in 2013, and the new facility will open in 2014.

“Yijun’s broad interests in genome biology, coupled with his innovative approach to developing new research techniques, make him an ideal member of the new JAX Genomic Medicine research team,” said Bob Braun, Ph.D., Jackson’s associate director and chair of research.

After earning BS and MS degrees in microbiology from Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, China, Ruan obtained his Ph.D. in plant molecular biology from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he also conducted postgraduate research. Following scientific appointments at Monsanto Co. in St. Louis and Large Scale Biology Corp. in Vacaville, Calif., Ruan was recruited to the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) in 2002. Edison Liu, M.D., former director of GIS and now president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory, credits Ruan for building the institute’s state-of-the-art genomic technology platforms and its award-winning genome biology programs.

Ruan is an author of 70 research papers and holds patents in Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom for the DNA analysis techniques he helped to develop. A U.S. citizen, Ruan is married and has two children.

In addition to recruiting research faculty, JAX Genomic Medicine is currently hiring a site director, science coordinator, senior human resources manager, facilities manager and senior financial analyst in Connecticut. Job announcements are on The Jackson Laboratory’s website. 

Braun notes that The Jackson Laboratory is expanding the research faculty at its headquarters campus in Bar Harbor, Maine, as well as recruiting faculty in Connecticut.

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., a future institute in Farmington, Conn., and a total staff of about 1,400. Its mission is to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human disease, and to enable research and education for the global biomedical community.


Joyce Peterson, 207-288-6058, The Jackson Laboratory

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