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New Exhibition at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Highlights the Important Developments in Genomic Research

Join us for the West Coast Premiere of Genome: Unlocking Life's Code Opening September 28, 2014, at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

August 27, 2014

San Diego, CA—August 27, 2014—The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center will host the West Coast premiere of Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code, a new exhibition that highlights developments in the field of genomic research, making the science accessible and helping visitors understand why genomic research is important in our world.

San Diego has long been a hub of genomic research. The city boasts research institutions, such as the Salk Institute, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Scripps Research Institute and University of California San Diego. San Diego is also home to companies such as Thermo Fisher Scientific, Life Technologies and Illumina that are working on technology to advance genomic research. Many important individuals in the field have also called San Diego home, including Francis Crick, Jonas Salk, J. Craig Venter and many more.

Some of the most important research of the Human Genome Project took place here in San Diego. More recently, Rady Children’s Hospital pledged to take a major step forward in the research of childhood diseases with the establishment of the Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute. Scripps Research Institute and UCSD have both recently been awarded NIH grants for genome sequencing research.

“San Diego is an incredible hub of science and technology,” said Dr. Steve Snyder, executive director of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. “We want to connect San Diegans with the groundbreaking science that’s happening right here in our city. Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code will help visitors understand more about themselves and about the impact local research and development has on their lives.”

Genome: Unlocking Life's Code premieres on Sunday, September 28, 2014. The exhibition begins to unravel the mystery behind the complete set of instructions needed for every living thing on Earth to grow and function. The exhibition immerses visitors in a high-tech environment that captures the revolutionary nature of genomic science.

In Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code, visitors can explore what the genome is, its scale and structure and how genomics plays a role in modern life. The exhibition shows how genomics has added to archaeological and fossil evidence, increasing knowledge of human origins and helping to answer questions about recent ancestry. Visitors can investigate how genomics may point to ways to stop deadly epidemics in their tracks. The exhibition also invites visitors to discover the fascinating diversity of living things, how their genomes differ—and their surprising similarities. Visitors will see themselves in a new way: as an individual, as a member of a family and as part of the diversity of life on Earth.

The genome is a roadmap that can help researchers trace the ancestral past of modern humans, and take charge of citizens’ future health. The exhibition will help visitors discover how the newfound ability to identify thousands of genes that contribute to diseases has helped open the way to more personalized healthcare. They can also weigh in on the legal and ethical issues surrounding cutting-edge genomic research and its implications on society.

Additionally, the exhibition chronicles the remarkable breakthroughs of the Human Genome Project. It took nearly a decade, three billion dollars and thousands of scientists to sequence the human genome in 2003. And thanks to their pioneering work, we are starting to know so much more about ourselves, and our world.

Genome: Unlocking Life's Code was developed and produced by the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the National Institutes for Health's National Human Genome Research Institute in association with Science North. This exhibit was made possible in part by financial support secured by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, as well as financial support from Life Technologies and other sponsors. It is locally sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific.

About the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (“the Fleet”) is home to Southern California’s only IMAX® Dome Theater and 100+ hands-on science exhibits for all ages. Watch immersive giant-screen films in the Heikoff Dome Theater, featuring the world’s first NanoSeam™ Dome screen in an IMAX Theater. Experience eight galleries of fun, interactive exhibits, including major traveling exhibitions. A hurricane simulator thrills visitors with gusts of wind up to 80 miles per hour. Enjoy sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in Galileo’s Café. Find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store. Located at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Boulevard, the Fleet Science Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering the public understanding and enjoyment of science and technology. For information regarding current admission prices, films and exhibitions, please call (619) 238-1233 or visit our website at www.rhfleet.org.

About the National Human Genome Research Institute

The NHGRI mission continues to be the study of the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genome research. NHGRI also supports the training of investigators and the dissemination of genome information to the public and to health professionals. Additional information about NHGRI can be found at its website, www.genome.gov.

About the National Institute of Health

NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

About the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's preeminent museum and research complex. The museum is dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning about the natural world through its unparalleled research, collections, exhibitions, education outreach programs and digital resources. NMNH is the largest natural history museum in the world with more than 127 million science specimens and cultural artifacts. As one of the world's great repositories of scientific and cultural heritage it is a source of tremendous pride for all Americans. For more information, visit www.mnh.si.edu.

About the Life Technologies Foundation

The Life Technologies Foundation, now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, is dedicated to advancing science education and changing perspectives on how the application of biology can address societal needs. In particular, the Foundation supports programs that accelerate the adoption and understanding of genomics in healthcare; Global Exhibitions and Science Festivals, and projects that advance life science education among today's educators and tomorrow's scientists through their groundbreaking K-12 hands-on science program, InnovatioNation™.

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FOR MEDIA ONLY/NOT FOR PUBLICATION: Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code makes its public West Coast premiere at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center on Sunday, September 28, 2014. The exhibition should be available for pre-arranged media interviews and demonstrations by Thursday, September 25, with an invitation-only VIP/Media event scheduled for Saturday, September 27, 2014.

Links to Additional Press info

Preferred Referral Link: www.rhfleet.org/exhibitions/genome-unlocking-lifes-code

Photos, B-roll and other related media: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/n4u7rj5pwew8u6s/AACtr_Ah_1XoHbLS0NTPWUv-a?dl=0

The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center: www.rhfleet.org

Exhibition Website: www.unlockinglifescode.org

Exhibition info from the NHGRI: www.genome.gov/27554010

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Additional Background Info

Below please find exhibition-related interview opportunities, Genome-related public events hosted by the Fleet and information about institutions involved with genomic research here in San Diego.

Media Interviews

The Fleet is pleased to have a number of representatives from the Fleet, NHGRI and NIH available for media interviews and appearances.

Dr. Eric Green, Director, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D. is the Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a position he has held since late 2009. NHGRI is the largest organization in the world dedicated solely to genomics research, and aims to advance human health through genomics research. Previously, he served as the NHGRI Scientific Director (2002-2009), Chief of the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch (1996-2009), and Director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (1997-2009). While directing an independent research program for almost two decades, Dr. Green was at the forefront of efforts to map, sequence, and understand eukaryotic genomes, including significant, start-to-finish involvement in the Human Genome Project.

Now, as Director of NHGRI, Dr. Green is responsible for providing overall leadership of the Institute’s research portfolio and other initiatives; this requires significant coordination with other NIH components, funding agencies, and research organizations. In 2011, Dr. Green led NHGRI to the completion of a strategic planning process that yielded a new vision for the future of genomics research, entitled Charting a course for genomic medicine from base pairs to bedside (Nature 470:204-213, 2011).

http://www.genome.gov/27535200

Dr. Steven Snyder, Executive Director, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Steven Snyder, Ph.D., comes to the Fleet from The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, where he served as Vice President of Exhibit and Program Development. There he was responsible for redefining the direction and processes for the development and implementation of all exhibit, theater and public programs for a 180+ year old institution and in so doing transforming the existing museum into a more dynamic, relevant, educational experience. As a member of senior leadership, he helped to shape the strategic direction and chart a new course for the organization. Dr. Snyder conceived of and led the development of a new educational direction for the organization that will drive the future direction of conceptualization and implementation of all exhibit, program and theatrical offerings. He managed an extensive staff, including designers, developers, interpreters, evaluators and scientists, while directing over $5M in annual operations and $2M in annual capital projects. Dr. Snyder developed new experiences and products to increase attendance and revenue while maintaining the integrity of the organization’s educational mission, including over 80,000 square feet of new exhibitions and programs, and served as a key public spokesperson for the organization.

http://www.rhfleet.org/leadership

Public Events Related to the Exhibition

The Fleet will host a series of events for science enthusiasts of all ages during the exhibition’s run.

OCTOBER 11—Saturday Science Club for Girls: Genetic Journey
Journey to the center of your cells to find out what makes you, you! Make delicious double-helix models, find out if you’re a supertaster and explore the Fleet’s newest exhibition—Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code. Girls in grades 5–8 can join the Fleet on the second Saturday of each month to investigate exciting science topics. Noon–2PM; members $12, nonmembers $14. Must pre-register by calling (619) 238-1233 x806.

http://www.rhfleet.org/learn/saturday-science-club-girls

OCTOBER 11—DNA Day. Join us at the Fleet’s Exploration Bar to explore DNA extraction tools and hone in on your pipetting skills with the Salk Institute. Learn perfect measurement with the click of a thumb! Activities free with paid admission; noon–3PM.

http://www.rhfleet.org/events/dna-day

 OCTOBER 20—Suds & Science—Genetic Ancestry Testing: What has race got to do with it? At Suds & Science, enjoy a pint while you listen to a brief presentation by a scientific expert, then discuss the topic with the speaker and your fellow attendees. This month’s topic is Genetic Ancestry Testing: What has race got to do with it? Have you ever wondered about your genetic ancestry? Genomics can reveal our recent family histories and the deep evolutionary roots of our species. These new understandings are changing the way we view ourselves as individuals and as a society. Join Lynn Jorde from the University of Utah Department of Human Genetics and Charmaine Royal from the Duke University Center on Genomics, Race, Identity & Difference, as they discuss the scientific basis of genetic ancestry testing and its implications for our conception of race. Location: Wang’s North Park, 3029 University Ave, San Diego CA 92104. 7-8:30PM

http://www.rhfleet.org/suds-science

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San Diego Institutions of Genomic Research

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) is the world leader in serving science. Our mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. We help our customers accelerate life sciences research, solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics and increase laboratory productivity. Through our four premier brands—Thermo Scientific, Life Technologies, Fisher Scientific and Unity Lab Services—we offer an unmatched combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and comprehensive support.

http://www.thermofisher.com/

Illumina

Illumina is a leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer of life science tools and integrated systems for large-scale analysis of genetic variation and function. These systems are enabling studies that were not even imaginable just a few years ago, and moving us closer to the realization of personalized medicine.

http://www.illumina.com/

Life Technologies

Life Technologies believes in the power of science to transform lives. To support scientists worldwide, we offer high-quality, innovative life science solutions—from everyday essentials to instruments—for every lab, every application. All from the most cited product brands.

https://www.lifetechnologies.com/

Rady Children’s Hospital

Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego is the region’s pediatric medical center serving San Diego, Imperial and southern Riverside counties. It is the largest children’s hospital in California (based on admissions) and the sixth largest children’s hospital in the country. Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego has taken a major step forward in the research of childhood diseases with the establishment of the Rady Pediatric Genomics and Systems Medicine Institute at Rady Children’s. The Institute will assemble a team of world-class scientists, researchers and clinicians who will focus their talents on preventing, diagnosing, treating and curing childhood disease through genomics and systems medicine research.

http://www.rchsd.org/

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute conducts world-class collaborative research dedicated to finding cures for human disease, improving quality of life, educating and training the next generation of scientists, and thus creating a legacy for its employees, partners, donors, and community.

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) is firmly positioned in the upper echelon of elite laboratory biomedical research. Our chief product is knowledge, dispensed in the more than 330 research publications generated annually by the Institute’s teams of scientists and shared with the world to advance science and medicine.

http://www.sanfordburnham.org/

The Salk Institute

The Salk Institute consistently ranks among the leading research institutions in the world for its faculty's contributions and the impact of their findings. The Institute has trained more than 2,700 scientists, many of whom have gone on to positions of leadership in other prominent research centers worldwide. Five scientists trained at the Institute have won Nobel prizes. Salk is home to nine Howard Hughes Medical Investigators and 14 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

http://www.salk.edu/

The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), one of the world's largest, private, non-profit research organizations, stands at the forefront of basic biomedical science, a vital segment of medical research that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Over the last decades, the institute has established a lengthy track record of major contributions to the betterment of health and the human condition.

The institute has become internationally recognized for its research into immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, virology, and synthetic vaccine development. Particularly significant is the institute's study of the basic structure and design of biological molecules; in this arena TSRI is among a handful of the world's leading centers.

http://www.scripps.edu/

University of California San Diego

The University of California, San Diego is a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public institution that provides opportunity for all. Recognized as one of the top 15 research universities worldwide, a culture of collaboration sparks discoveries that advance society and drive economic impact.

http://ucsd.edu/

University of California San Diego, Institute for Genomic Medicine

Founded by the UCSD School of Medicine and the UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the UCSD Institute for Genome Medicine is a center of excellence for organizing the multi-disciplinary resources necessary to effectively translate the discoveries of genetic and genomic research from "bench to bedside." The IGM aims to link clinical and genomic information to facilitate personalized health care. By combining UCSD's expertise in Genetics, Disease Biology, and Clinical Practice with its strengths in Computer Science, Bioinformatics, and Systems Biology, the IGM is uniquely positioned to support all activities along the continuum of genomic medicine.

http://igm.ucsd.edu/

Notable People in the San Diego Genomic Research Community and History

Francis Crick

Jonas Salk

J. Craig Venter

Joe and Retta Beery: http://unlockinglifescode.org/media/videos/730

Recent Articles on Newsworthy Developments in Genomic Research

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/aug/10/tp-fertile-ground-for-science/?#article-copy

http://www.sdbj.com/news/2014/aug/05/ucsd-scripps-research-institute-and-illumina-get-n/

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Rady-Childrens-Hospital-to-Get-120M-Donation-269850471.html

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/06/18/137204964/genome-maps-solve-medical-mystery-for-calif-twins

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About the Fleet Science Center:
The Fleet Science Center connects people of all ages to the possibilities and power of science to create a better future. At the science center, you can explore and investigate more than 100 interactive exhibits that pique your curiosity and become immersed in an IMAX film adventure that shows the wonders of the planet--and beyond--in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. For young science enthusiasts, the Fleet offers science workshops both at the Fleet and at schools throughout San Diego County. For adults, we offer events like Suds & Science and Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar™ at locations all over San Diego. We support communities by leveraging science resources to meet local needs. Teachers are encouraged to join our Teacher Partner Program and take advantage of our professional development opportunities. Additionally, at the Fleet Science Center, visitors will find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store, and pizzas, sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in our Craveology cafe. Located in Balboa Park, at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd., the Fleet is San Diego's science center. Science starts here and opens a world of possibility. For information regarding current admission prices, visit our website at fleetscience.org.
 
 
About Balboa Park:
Located near downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is the largest urbancultural park in the United States. First established by the City of San Diego in 1868, it is also one of the oldest city parks in the nation and is the most visited single destination in San Diego. Its 1,200 acres include 17 museums, many gardens and attractions, the San Diego Zoo, miles of hiking trails, and multiple athletic complexes to explore and discover. For more information, visit balboapark.org.