The Centre of Excellence in Functional Genomics augments the existing world-class biotechnology and biomedical facilities at Coleraine and concentrates on research projects that may, in the short or long-term, have commercial impact on biotechnology, biomedicine or high-added-value food production. This is being carried out using the modern techniques of functional genomics - the molecular analysis of how gene products work, as opposed to structural genomics - the discovery of what genes exist.
The principal research themes are:
- Creation of probiotic or prebiotic enhancers of functional foods
- Optimisation of next-generation antibiotics
- Exploitation of the genomic diversity of extremophilic micro-organisms
- Cloning and exploitation of amphibian and other peptides with biological activity
- Creation of transgenic mice for analytical purposes
- Use of gene transfer to enhance tumour therapy
- Stem cell differentiation to islet cell phenotypes for diabetes using stable and novel peptides targeting islet cells
- Transfection of milk-borne maternal gene transcripts to the mammalian neonate
The Centre has a range of specialist inequipment including a microarray reader, real-time PCR machine, two mass spectrometers, protein purification workstation and PALM laser microdissection system, all of which are installed and functioning as well as five cell culture laboratories.