About - Introduction

IGS Innovates Genomic Science for a Healthier Maryland & World

As part of the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) since 2007, our Institute for Genome Sciences' (IGS) researchers have contributed greatly to scientific discovery, scholarship, and history.

IGS remains at the forefront of high-throughput genomic technologies and bioinformatics analyses

IGS Acting Director Jacques Ravel, PhD, leads our team of 30 faculty members and seven affiliate faculty whose research spans from basic evolutionary science to human health across the lifespan. Our scientists work in diverse areas, applying genomics and systems biology approaches to better understand health issues in premature infants, women, and transgender people; to improve vaccine development; to study evolutionary biology; and to understand cancer, parasitic, fungal, and infectious diseases, as well as identifying the underpinnings of aging, brain development, addiction, and mental health.

IGS remains at the forefront of high-throughput genomic technologies and bioinformatics analyses through its core facility, Maryland Genomics. Maryland Genomics provides research scientists cutting-edge, collaborative, and cost-effective sequencing and analysis—all customizable to each project's needs. Maryland Genomics develops methodologies and best-in-class pipelines to quickly navigate the rapidly advancing fields of microbiome and genomic technologies. It offers its global clients a wide range of services, including single-cell 'omics, spatial transcriptomics, long-read sequencing, CRISPR screens, and analysis using tools such as artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning. For clinicians, its Maryland Genomics Translational Diagnostics Laboratory leads the way in precision medicine, offering services in pharmacogenomics, familial genetic testing assays, and Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT).

Our History

Although IGS was established at the University of Maryland Baltimore campus in 2007, we trace the origins of what would become IGS back to 1992. That year, IGS Founding Director, Claire Fraser, PhD, took a leadership position at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Maryland.

While at TIGR, Dr. Fraser and her colleagues completed the sequencing of the first genome of a free-living organism, Haemophilus influenzae, which is known to cause respiratory tract infections and meningitis in young children. This groundbreaking work launched the new field of microbial genomics. Furthermore, that team made significant contribution to the sequencing of the first human genome, which was announced in 2003. In 2001, researchers from TIGR helped the FBI in pinpointing the source of the Anthrax Letter Attacks by identifying mutations that indicated the laboratory where the anthrax had originated.

In 2007, Dr. Fraser moved 60 staff members and 15 senior scientists to UMSOM, marking the beginning of a new chapter. And, as they say: The rest is history.