Illumina Supports Next Generation Scientists at Genspace

Access to cutting edge genomics technology is expanding beyond the walls of industry and the conventional classroom. Illumina and The Illumina Corporate Foundation have granted Genspace in-kind product donations and a cash grant totalling over $100,000 to build capacity for authentic genomics research and project-based learning for New York City youth. The award will come in the form of a MiniSeq DNA Sequencing System, BaseSpace Sequencing Hub Credits, service contract agreements, library preparation kits and sequencing reagents.

With this investment, Illumina and Genspace will provide students from historically excluded backgrounds with hands-on genomics experiences based on their interests. Significant racial and ethnic group disparities persist in biotech careers, limiting the innovation potential of these fields. Biotech careers have increased nearly 20% in the New York City region since 2018, but one of the major bottlenecks remains hiring skilled talent for the growing sector. Early exposure to genomics through programs such as Genspace’s Biorocket Research Internship Program inspire the next generation of students to discover and explore biotech careers.

“Genomics is the single most important innovation of our time. Providing exposure to the tools that are enabling the next generation of researchers and clinicians will usher in the future of personalized medicine,” said John Frank, Chief Public Affairs Officer and Illumina Corporate Foundation Board member. “We know that talent is everywhere but opportunity is not. We aim to eliminate barriers by supporting STEM education and accelerating access to genomics for all.”

“This technology allows our youth to explore genomics in the context of questions they find important for their communities, and to build the skills, confidence, and science identity necessary for their future in STEM,” said Beth Tuck, Executive Director of Genspace. Past Genspace interns have investigated questions about the skin microbiome, environmental biofilms, and the plant rhizosphere. With the support of Illumina and the Illumina Corporate Foundation, these students will use metagenomics and transcriptomics techniques to elevate their research questions and make novel discoveries in environmental and human health.

About Genspace
Genspace is the world’s first community biology lab — a place where people of all backgrounds can learn, create, and grow with the life sciences. Since 2009, it has served the greater New York area by providing hands-on STEAM education programs for youth and adults, cultural and outreach events for the public, and a membership program to support New York’s community of creatives, researchers, and entrepreneurs. Genspace programs demystify scientific processes, provide a platform for innovation, and cultivate the next generation of life sciences leaders in emerging global technologies, such as biotechnology, neuroscience, epidemiology, genomics, and many more.

About Biorocket
The Biorocket Research Internship Program is a 6-month life science research experience for New York public and charter high school students age 16 and up. The program provides students with the opportunity to learn the latest advances in genetic engineering and biology laboratory skills, along with the science communication skills necessary to communicate about these topics with a variety of audiences. By participating in the program, students have access to scientific mentors, behind-the-scenes lab tours and field trips, and improved training for science communication skills.

About Illumina
Illumina is improving human health by unlocking the power of the genome. Our focus on innovation has established us as a global leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies, serving customers in the research, clinical, and applied markets. Our products are used for applications in the life sciences, oncology, reproductive health, agriculture, and other emerging segments. To learn more, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

About the Illumina Corporate Foundation
By sharing our time, talent, and technology, we aim to inspire, support, and empower our communities, our employees, and the next generation. Giving back is in our DNA. We put our principles of corporate citizenship into action through our corporate and foundation giving, and our employee engagement program: Illumina Cares. Fostering a culture that emboldens our employees to give back is integral to connecting to our mission.

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