The UF Genetics Institute is a biomedical research center that promotes collaborative and multidisciplinary research using the tools of genetics and genomics. Some 220 faculty members representing nine colleges and 51 academic departments are members of the institute. They conduct research in human genetics, bioinformatics, agricultural and plant biology, and evolutionary biology. Their research addresses pressing issues such as climate change, health-related genetic mutations and food security.
Specific aims of the institute include developing platforms and techniques for functional genomics and proteomics research; establishing shared bioinformatics resources for the analysis of genetic information and experimental data from genetic research; and fostering translational research aimed at putting genetic discoveries into practical use in microbial, plant, animal and human applications.
The University of Florida has played a pivotal role in gene therapy and the use of the adeno-associated virus as a gene vector. UF research resulted in the the discovery of the unique life cycle of AAV by Kenneth Berns, Ph.D., in the 1980s, as well as faculty credited with the first use of AAV to deliver genes to cells in culture; the first use of AAV in animals and humans; the first use of AAV in models of muscle and heart disease; and the first use of AAV to reverse blindness in dogs with a genetic disease.