- Partnership aims to help shape research, education and outreach in microbiomes – the community of microorganisms within an environment
- QIAGEN to provide instruments and solutions for shared research and education facility at the Huck Institutes’ “One Health Microbiome Center” to support faculty and students
- Facility at the prominent U.S. university to provide a site for supporting the development of new QIAGEN microbiome solutions
Germantown, Maryland, and State College, Pennsylvania — QIAGEN (NYSE: QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced a first-in-kind collaboration with Penn State University in the United States to create a shared research and education facility for the fast-developing microbiome sciences.
The university-industry partnership will serve as a beacon for this field by investigating research opportunities that address challenges and research gaps facing the microbiome, which involves the research into a community of microorganisms that can be found living together in any given environment, including the human body.
In doing so, this new partnership will provide QIAGEN with a site to support the development of new products as a testing center. It is also designed to provide vital industry research and training opportunities for next-generation scientists. This includes an internship program for graduate students from Penn State at QIAGEN laboratories at the European operational headquarters in Hilden, Germany, and helps them prepare for careers in the biotechnology industry.
“This new partnership with Penn State, one of the leading academic research institutions in the field of microbiome research, is anchored by a shared vision for an interconnection between the health of humans, animals and ecosystems. It will help shape research, education and outreach in the young field of the microbiome sciences, and hopefully accelerate the careers of a new generation of scientists interested in this field,” said Nitin Sood, Senior Vice President and Head of the Life Sciences Business Area at QIAGEN. “Additionally, it will foster relationships with the microbiome research community and enable us to better develop new products for microbiome research based on direct customer feedback.”
Seth Bordenstein, Director of the One Health Microbiome Center, Professor of Biology and Entomology, and Huck Endowed Chair in the Microbiome Sciences, at Penn State said: “The ‘One Health’ vision shared by QIAGEN and Penn State University is critical for microbiome research. We are pleased to partner with the leading provider of microbiome solutions to equip researchers with the tools to explore how microorganisms flow through humans, animals, plants and the environment, impacting the health of all these ecosystems. With this multi-year partnership, we will bridge the gap between industry and academia and shape the future of microbiome research.”
Among the various projects in this partnership, the team will support the worldwide science education program “Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project”. This program enables students at the middle and high school levels, as well as those in college, to learn about arthropods (animals without backbones that have an outer skeleton made of chitin, segmented bodies and legs with joints, including insects, spiders, mites and crustaceans) and collect scientific data about the bacterial endosymbiont (an organism living inside another one for the benefit of both) Wolbachia pipientis.
This bacterium is estimated to be found in approximately 50% of the world’s arthropods and has been shown, for example, to block the reproduction of potentially fatal RNA viruses such as Dengue, West Nile and Zika virus. Additionally, it is used to reduce the transmission of these and other viruses spread by the bite of infected arthropods (arboviruses). Due to these real-world impacts, Wolbachia is often used as a model organism to investigate animal-microbe interactions, genetics, evolution, ecology and human health.
Microbiome research aims to explore the relationships between microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and viruses, and their hosts. It can help to better understand the microbiome’s impact on health, diseases and ecological processes in order to develop novel diagnostic solutions and therapeutic strategies.
The flagship project at the One Health Microbiome Center (OHMC) at Penn State’s Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences will see QIAGEN provide instruments and kits for preparing and processing microbial samples.
Penn State is among the top 30 public research universities in the U.S., with more than $1.2 billion in annual research expenditures. With over 500 members, including 125 faculty from various Penn State campuses and more than 42 departments, OHMC is one of the largest organizations of its type in microbiome research.
QIAGEN’s comprehensive microbiome portfolio encompasses tools for every aspect of the scientific workflow, including reliable sample preparation kits optimized for investigating challenging samples from environmental and human microbiomes. To ensure reproducibility, QIAGEN offers sample preparation automation for standardization and reliability. The extensive range of microbiome solutions also includes downstream processing technologies such as NGS, digital PCR (dPCR), or quantitative PCR (qPCR), all complemented by robust bioinformatics tools for seamless digital analysis.
Learn more about QIAGEN’s solutions for microbiome research at https://www.qiagen.com/us/applications/microbiome.
 Flores, Heater A., and O’Neill, Scott L.: “Controlling vector-borne diseases by releasing modified mosquitoes” Nature Reviews Microbiology, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41579-018-0025-0
 O’Neill, Scott L., et al. : “Scaled deployment of Wolbachia to protect the community from dengue and other Aedes transmitted arboviruses” Gates Open Research, 2018. https://doi.org/10.12688/gatesopenres.12844.1
QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands-based holding company, is the leading global provider of Sample to Insight solutions that enable customers to gain valuable molecular insights from samples containing the building blocks of life. Our sample technologies isolate and process DNA, RNA and proteins from blood, tissue and other materials. Assay technologies make these biomolecules visible and ready for analysis. Bioinformatics software and knowledge bases interpret data to report relevant, actionable insights. Automation solutions tie these together in seamless and cost-effective workflows. QIAGEN provides solutions to more than 500,000 customers around the world in Molecular Diagnostics (human healthcare) and Life Sciences (academia, pharma R&D and industrial applications, primarily forensics). As of September 30, 2023, QIAGEN employed more than 6,000 people in over 35 locations worldwide. Further information can be found at http://www.qiagen.com.
About Penn State University
Penn State is a multi-campus, land-grant, public research University that educates students from around the world, and supports individuals and communities through integrated programs of teaching, research and service. Penn State is an R1 university, a classification given by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Higher Education to the very best research universities in America, reaching a record $1.239 billion in research expenditures during fiscal year 2022-23. The University’s discovery-oriented, collaborative and interdisciplinary research and scholarship promote human and economic development, global understanding, and advancement in professional practice through the expansion of knowledge and its applications in the natural and applied sciences, social and behavioral sciences, engineering, technology, arts and humanities, and myriad professions. The University’s instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional, continuing and extension education, offered through both resident instruction and distance learning. Penn State’s educational programs are enriched by the talent, knowledge, diversity, creativity and teaching and research acumen of its faculty, students and staff. As Pennsylvania’s sole land-grant university, Penn State provides unparalleled access to education and public service to support the citizens of the commonwealth and beyond. The University engages in collaborative activities with private sector, educational and governmental partners worldwide to generate, integrate, apply and disseminate knowledge that is valuable to society. For more information, visit www.research.psu.edu.
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