The Key to Curing Diseases

How many of your relatives or friends are facing a serious disease such as cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer’s? How do we cure these diseases, which start in our genes, the most basic determinants of our health and other physical traits? For answers, we turn to our doctors. But for better answers for their patients, medical doctors turn to a different kind of doctor—biomedical researchers who investigate the complex biology that underlies human health and disease.

Scientists at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) model and interpret basic research with clinical application, educate current and future scientists, and empower the global biomedical community by providing critical data, tools and services. JAX leverages its eight decades of expertise in genetics to increase understanding of human disease, advancing understanding of and treatments for cancer, neurological and immune disorders, diabetes, aging, heart disease and other diseases.

The 1,300 employees in Bar Harbor, Maine, conduct genetic research using mice as models of human disease. We provide scientific services and genetic resources to laboratories around the world, and educate students of all ages through courses, internships and other programs.

Jackson Lab has a campus in Sacramento, Calif., that provides products and services to the biotech industry in the western states. Research at our new facility, The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Conn., focuses on bringing discoveries in genetics and genomics—the study of the whole of our genetic material—to medical practice.

It is an exciting time at JAX and in biomedical science as a whole. Personalized medicine based on genomics is coming. New capabilities in DNA sequencing, analysis and engineering are providing unprecedented opportunities to understand vital biological processes. We are learning more and more about how all of our genes function as a system, how they are influenced by our behavior, and what happens when we interact with the environment. We are gaining knowledge about how our own unique genomic makeup makes us more or less susceptible to disease. We are, in short, discovering how we function as individuals, not as an average over large populations.

The goal of our research is to provide medical doctors with far more powerful and precise tools for treating their patients. In the end, we work to make medicine more individualized and more effective, improving care, lowering costs and increasing life span and health span.

You can discover even more incredible science being done at the Jackson Lab during the Maine Science Festival in March!

For more information about the Maine Science Festival, visit www.mainesciencefestival.org, and find the festival on Facebook and Twitter (@MEScienceFest).