Gifts support research initiatives and advancing technologies
Greenwood, SC – The Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC) Foundation announces the successful completion of an 18-month ‘Journey of Discovery’ fundraising campaign
supporting the Center’s advancing technologies.
The GGC Foundation surpassed the campaign’s fundraising goal of $1.35 million, set in July of 2018, by announcing $1.56 million in gifts to support three
areas of innovation –model organisms, confocal microscopy, and genomic sequencing.
“The success of this campaign is a testament to the wonderful work happening at GGC every day,” said Boo Ramage, Interim Executive Director of the GGC Foundation
“The innovative work, and the potential it holds, has helped us to engage philanthropic individuals, businesses, and foundations with a common purpose
of serving patients impacted by genetic disorders.”
A $350,000 gift from Hazel Allin and her late husband, Bill, was the catalyst for the campaign. The Allins donation supported the development of the
Hazel and Bill Allin Aquaculture Facility
which currently houses over 7,000 zebrafish used as model organisms in the study of genetic disorders.
“Bill and I have long respected the work of the Greenwood Genetic Center and are proud that we could support their commitment to patient care and research,”
said Hazel Allin. “I am grateful that Bill was able to see the fulfillment of this gift, and I look forward to following their groundbreaking work
that will help patients and families around the world.”
Model organisms, such as GGC’s zebrafish, allow researchers to identify how genetic changes impact development and cause disease. Zebrafish and humans
share 70% of the same DNA, so they are a robust system offering tremendous applications for studying human genetic disease.
Confocal microscopy, a valuable tool for studying zebrafish, allows scientists to view cell processes with incredibly high resolution and in a noninvasive
manner. GGC’s confocal images are already being used to confirm patient diagnoses.
Through the Journey of Discovery campaign and the Center’s collaboration with Clemson University’s Center for Human Genetics, GGC acquired South Carolina’s
only NovaSeq, a top-of-the-line DNA sequencing instrument that can provide analysis of genetic changes throughout the genome. GGC plans to begin offering
whole genome sequencing clinically later this year.
GGC’s Director, Steve Skinner, MD
, said the technologies made possible through the campaign are
already helping more patients find answers, and are providing hope for treatments.
“We, and the families we serve, are indebted to all who supported the Journey of Discovery,” said Skinner. “Advanced genomic sequencing is helping us more
easily identify genetic changes in patients, and the zebrafish system and confocal microscope are already improving our understanding of how those
changes cause the problems that they do. This understanding is crucial to identifying and developing treatments that will improve the quality of life
for the patients and families we serve.”
Photo: A zebrafish photo is presented to Hazel and Bill Allin and the dedication of the Aquaculture Facility in 2018.