KGI Amgen partnership

Amgen Gift to Fund Launch of KGI Center for Training in Applied Genomics

Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) has received $1 million from Amgen, one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies, to start the KGI Center for Training in Applied Genomics in response to the workforce need for more scientists in the emerging field of clinical genomics.

“Amgen is a world leader in human genetics, which plays an increasingly important role in the development of new medicines and holds promise for improving healthcare delivery,” said Robert A. Bradway, chairman and chief executive officer of Amgen. “We are pleased to support the KGI Center for Training in Applied Genomics as it builds the next generation of experts in genomics research.

“This collaboration reflects Amgen’s commitment to advancing science education at all levels, from high school through post-graduate and beyond.”

Human genomics, the study of the genes and DNA found in all human cells, is rapidly reshaping the way diseases are identified in patients, studied in the laboratory, and eventually treated. Studying the entire genome requires a combination of classical genetics knowledge and bioinformatics, which is the use of computer science and biostatistics to analyze the data generated from DNA sequencing. Advances in human genomics have transformed personalized medicine from science fiction into reality.

Genome sequencing is now used routinely for cancer patients to tailor therapies to the exact mutations in tumors. Whole genome sequencing is used to great success in identifying rare diseases in children who previously went undiagnosed. This data is also being used to discover the biological bases of common diseases and develop new, targeted therapies using this information. 

As the field of human genomics advances and expands rapidly, genomics education must also adapt. The goal of the KGI Center for Training in Applied Genomics will be to create a full-spectrum educational resource.

The Center will have a dual focus: the first being the education of young scientists to become leaders in the field, and the second being to provide executive and continuing education to enable current professionals to stay at the cutting edge of a field that is constantly changing.

“In recognizing the need for innovation within genomics education, the KGI Center for Training in Applied Genomics will have a wide-ranging impact on industry and students,” KGI President Sheldon Schuster said. “We are deeply grateful to be supported in this effort by Amgen, which continues to demonstrate its strong commitment to KGI and our contributions to education, research, and industry.”

The $1 million gift will provide a strong foundation for the KGI Center for Training in Applied Genomics, paving the way for the development of executive education courses, new faculty, student scholarships, infrastructure, program management, and research. The KGI Center for Training in Applied Genomics will be a place for biotech leaders to learn, be inspired, and connect to one another and the industry.

In December 2016, Amgen gave KGI $1.5 million to help launch two genetics degrees: the Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling (MSGC) and the Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genomic Data Analytics (MSGDA). The first cohorts in those two programs started in August 2018 and are set to graduate in May 2020.

The MSGDA is a first-of-its-kind program, providing students with opportunities to fill the growing demand for genomic interpretation of clinical DNA sequencing data through in-depth coursework in human genetics and genomics coupled with bioinformatics and data analysis skills.

KGI has a long tradition of working closely with industry partners and creating programs responsive to industry needs. Amgen is a top employer of KGI alumni, and this leading biotechnology company has sponsored numerous KGI Team Master’s Projects.