NIST, Stanford University Enter Partnership to Foster Biotech Measurement Infrastructure

DNAThe National Institute of Standards and Technology will collaborate with Stanford University to develop measurement units for biotechnology products and services in sectors such as healthcare, energy and electronics.

NIST said Friday the NIST-Stanford Joint Initiative for Metrology in Biology looks to engage academia, industry and government in the development of tools that would help establish units of measurement for biotechnology.

“To realize biotechnology’s tremendous promise, we need to develop measurement platforms — standards, methods, and data — that support innovation within existing and entirely new industries,” said Laurie Locascio, director of NIST’s material measurement laboratory.

NIST added that JIMB will initially focus on human genome sequencing and synthetic biology while the agency is working to establish a West Coast facility where researchers can prototype biometrology tools and create biology reagents.

The agency has worked with Stanford and Genome in a Bottle consortium partners to form NIST RM 8398 — a DNA reference material for genetic testing, medical diagnosis and customized drug therapy.

The reference material was released in May 2015 and has served as a comparative tool for the Food and Drug Administration‘s PrecisionFDA Consistency Challenge and worked to support medical labs in gauging genetic test accuracy, NIST said.

The agency also noted that the NIST-hosted Synthetic Biology Standards and External RNA Controls consortia will help facilitate the engagement of companies and organizations in the joint initiative.

JIMB currently consists of 16 NIST staff members.

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