North Texas Genome Center Seen as Boon for Health Care, DFW Economy

The new center, on the campus of UT Arlington, will be available to academic and corporate researchers. Officials said it could help elevate the region as a leader in precision medicine.


North Texas health-care delivery and the region’s biotech sector have received a giant uplift with the announcement of the North Texas Genome Center, a partnership between the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.

The center — available to academic and corporate researchers — will open this month on the UT Arlington campus, and it will bring what UTA called “massive genome sequencing capabilities” to North Texas.

Dr. Hubert Zajicek, CEO and co-founder of the Dallas mentor-driven seed accelerator Health Wildcatters, said he expects the center will have a great impact on the region.

“Precision Medicine, based on a detailed understanding of the individuals’ genetic makeup is only in its infancy.”
Dr. Hubert Zajicek

“Precision medicine, based on a detailed understanding of the individuals’ genetic makeup is only in its infancy,” Zajicek told Dallas Innovates via email. “I expect lots of innovation in this space, so it is especially exciting to see a resource like that open up in our community.”

He said the ability to quickly and affordably perform whole genome sequencing is the basic building block of precision medicine.

“This effort [opening of the center] is a step in the right direction, combining academic interests with a desire to open the centers’ capabilities to local health entrepreneurs and innovators,” Zajicek said.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said the new center is “wonderful news for Tarrant County” because it will enhance the North Texas economy.

“By bringing together the science, engineering, and nursing expertise of UTA with the biomedical research experience of UNTHSC, this new center will be able to produce innovative health-care solutions with a real positive impact on patients,” Williams said in a statement. 

UTA officials said they believe the center will bring more patented inventions, company startups, and job creation for the region. 


“UTA is becoming a hub for innovation in North Texas and the North Texas Genome Center will boost our capacities in this area,” UTA Vice President for Research Duane Dimos said.

The center will offer lower cost and faster service for human whole genome sequencing compared to other similar labs and will be vital in research in disease prevention, drug development, cancer treatments, and the fundamental aspects of genetics, according to UT Arlington.

Todd Castoe, UTA biology professor and associate director of the North Texas Genome Center and Jon Weidanz, UTA’s associate vice president for research and interim director of the new center, with a sequencing machine. [Photo courtesy of UT Arlington]

Whole genome sequencing is the process of determining the total DNA sequence of a particular organism at one time.

It provides physicians, scientists, and engineers with important tools to change the ways that doctors can treat their patients by making treatments more precise and patterned specifically to that patient’s individual genetic makeup.

The center will have five NovaSeq 6000 gene sequencing systems, which UTA and UNTHSC said is the most-powerful line from Illumina, a global leader in genome sequencing technology. 


The center will elevate the partner schools’ status in health care, officials said.

“The new North Texas Genome Center aligns with UTA’s strategic focus on both health and the human condition and data-driven discovery and will lead to future programs and partnerships in genomics, computational sciences, and genetic counseling,” UTA President Vistasp Karbhari said in the release. “The center will also catalyze the university’s emergence as a leader in precision health and the transformation of the region into a high-tech science hub.”

“The strength of this collaboration really is the the sharing of information, which we all feel is the primary building block of the medicine of the future.”

Anuja Ghorpade

Anuja Ghorpade, vice president for research at UNTHSC, said the sharing of information is the critical element to the partnership.

“The strength of this collaboration really is the the sharing of information, which we all feel is the primary building block of the medicine of the future,” she said.

The center will support and enhance UNTHSC’s research expertise in genetics, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease along with its clinical emphasis on primary care, geriatrics, and patient safety, according to the release.

Get on the list.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.   
View previous emails.


R E A D   N E X T

  • The award from the National Institutes of Health will help HSC lead the AI/Machine Learning Consortium to Advance Health Equity and Researcher Diversity, or AIM-AHEAD, program. The effort will bring together experts in community engagement, AI/ML, health equity research, data science training, and data infrastructure.

  • BUiLT, nonprofit, Texas, North Texas, Dallas, Dallas-Fort Worth, DFW, Black talent, Black tech talent, Texas talent, North Texas talent, Dallas talent, Dallas-Fort Worth talent, DFW talent, talent attraction, Texas tech talent, North Texas tech talent, Dallas tech talent, Dallas-Fort Worth tech talent, DFW tech talent, Texas business, North Texas business, Dallas business, Dallas-Fort Worth business, DFW business, Texas nonprofit, North Texas nonprofit, Dallas nonprofit, Dallas-Fort Worth nonprofit, DFW nonprofit, symposium, symposia, non-profit, nonprofit, nonprofits, non-profits, cybersecurity, cyber security, north-texas, expo, vice president, Texas symposium, North Texas symposium, Dallas symposium, Dallas-Fort Worth symposium, DFW symposium,

    Nonprofit BUiLT is hosting the event to highlight the success and possibilities of Black tech talent in the region. “There is no talent pipeline problem,” says Peter Beasley, co-founder of the Blacks United in Leading Technology International. “Black tech talent is widely available, especially in North Texas.”

  • The NTXIA is a founding member of the new National Smart Coalitions Partnership, now one of the largest smart cities networks in the country. The organization unites more than 100 governments across seven regional smart cities consortiums. The goal? To accelerate sustainability and resilience in communities.

  • The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which passed in May, has the power to develop 20 tech hubs throughout the United States. According to Tech Titans' CEO Bill Sproull, Dallas-Fort Worth could be a strong contender for one of those spots.

  • The University of North Texas is partnering with two Dallas-area startups on breakthrough mobility solutions—with part of an estimated $600K in total funding provided by the NTCMT. One startup is developing an airspace hazard identification and alerting service to ensure safe unmanned aircraft flights. The other is working on object detection technology to keep bicyclists safe from vehicle collisions.