Institute of Genomics, University of Tartu – Advancing Genomics for Better Human Health
The University of Tartu (UTARTU) is the oldest (est. 1632), largest and only classical university in Estonia, with more than 14,000 students and 1,500 academic staff members. UTARTU, Estonia’s leading centre of research and training, currently ranks among the top 1% of the world’s best universities (Times Higher Education World University Rankings) and belongs to the top 1% of the world’s most-cited universities and research institutions in 12 fields, including clinical medicine, molecular biology and genetics.
The Institute of Genomics at the University of Tartu (IG, https://genomics.ut.ee/en) is a leading centre in genomics, aiming to accelerate scientific and medical discoveries for human health. Our unique population-based biobank of over 200,000 individuals provides data for researchers to analyse the effect of DNA on health, disease and treatment outcomes, explore ancestral histories of populations worldwide, and contribute to the development of personalised medicine. About 20% of Estonia’s adult population has joined the Estonian Biobank (EstBB), making it a vital database for medical science domestically and internationally. The EstBB database is regularly linked with national registries (such as the Cancer Registry and Causes of Death Registry), hospital databases, and the national health insurance fund database.
In addition, in 2017, we started the collection of oral and stool microbiome samples from the EstBB participants and established the Estonian Microbiome (EstMB) cohort in order to investigate the role of the host microbiome in health and disease. For each study participant, we have lifestyle and health-related data from national registries and self-reported questionnaires. Rich data resources allow us to characterize the Estonian population’s microbiome profile and identify microbiome-associated factors.
The IG is a centre identified in the Estonian and European Research Infrastructure Roadmap and is one of the founding members of BBMRI-ERIC. This major European research infrastructure brings together European biobanks to ensure the harmonised development of biobanks, IT solutions, high quality and transparency, and an internationally high ethical and legal level. Since 2018, the University of Tartu has been a core partner of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) consortium EIT-Health. In addition, the Estonian Biobank also participates in the global network of large biobanks International Hundred K + Cohorts Consortium, which operates together with the Global Genomic Medicine Collaborative community. IG participates in the “1+ Million Genome” initiative and EU Horizon Europe’s “Mission for Cancer” Board. We are proud that our 12 researchers belong to the top 1% of most quoted scientists worldwide (ISI WofS).
Role in the project: UTARTU will provide the EstBB and EstMB cohort for WP1 analysis, perform the PRS for predicting the RDs, and provide the web portal feedback in WP5.