The new campus of the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG), approved for establishment by the Union Cabinet in 2009, an autonomous institution of Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India was inaugurated on 7th May 2018 by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Hon’ble Union Minister for Science & Technology, Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Earth Sciences, at Kalyani, West Bengal. Earlier, the institute operated from an interim location on the floor of the Netaji Subhas T.B. Sanatorium in Kalyani.
The Honorable Minister also launched the Kalyani Cluster hosted at NIBMG, which has catalyzed a collaborative ecosystem, by bringing together five other institutions – IISER, Kolkata; Bose Institute, CSIR-IICB, Indian Statistical Institute and Tata Medical Centre – into a Biocluster with the aim of precipitating Systems Medicine in India.
NIBMG was created to “Accelerate Genomics for Health”. This is the first institution in India explicitly devoted to research, training, translation & service and capacity-building in Biomedical Genomics. One of the objectives of NIBMG is to create necessary physical infrastructure to serve as the expert base for the principles and practise of Biomedical Genomics. The Institute has, already created a formidable capacity for ultra-fast DNA and RNA sequencing, the largest in any academic institution in India; created two global records of sequence data generation in a single experiment within a short period of time, breaking the previous records held by an American Genomics Company; generated data equivalent to about 10,000 human genomes in the last five years, cutting costs of sequencing using various innovative experimental approaches; formed a research platform to facilitate pursuit of Biomedical Genomics at the national level by opening up its core facilities to universities and other national labs. Another major objective of the Institute is to conduct and promote cutting-edge research in Biomedical Genomics, for impactful translation of genomics-driven approach to public health improvement.
NIBMG has embarked on identifying genomic underpinnings of two cancer types, oral and cervical, that are most common among males and females, respectively, of our country. The Institute is the co-ordinating centre and the genomics experimental laboratory for the India component of the International Cancer Genome Consortium. The Institute has also made significant contributions to genomics of chronic and infectious diseases, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic pancreatitis, sepsis, latency in tuberculosis, etc. Promoting life-course epidemiology and population awareness is a major programme of the Institute. To identify how genes and environmental factors interact in precipitating diseases, the Institute has formed a population cohort of 50,000 individuals, who are being followed up regularly, with blood and clinical profiling being done. This understanding will help prevent diseases by controlling relevant environmental factors. Awareness camps to prevent diseases are being regularly organized in the cohort.
The Institute has taken genomic laboratories and genetic testing to the doorsteps of clinicians by establishing a unit in the largest tertiary care government hospital in Kolkata, the SSKM Hospital. The Institute has collaborative projects with many national institutions, such as, Translational Health Science & Technology Institute (THSTI), Center for Cell & Molecular Biology (CCMB) etc. and with global biotech institutions and industry, such as, European Bioinformatics Institute, University of Chicago, Genentech, Unilever, etc.