Rare Genomics Institute to award more than $600,000 Worth of Research for Rare Diseases

March 3, 2015

Rare Genomics Institute (RGI) has announced BeHEARD (Helping Empower and Accelerate Research Discoveries) challenge, a global competition to award rare diseases research accomplishments. Partnering with 18 biotechnology firms, RGI is hoping to accelerate personalized rare disease studies and create new options for millions of patients suffering from hard-to-diagnose and treat ailments.

“For many rare diseases, there are not sufficient resources dedicated to advance the research towards diagnostics, therapies, and cures,” said Jimmy Lin, MD, PhD, MHS, President of RGI. “By partnering with top biotechnology companies, we are providing rare disease groups access to the latest life sciences innovations and technologies.”

The global competition is open to researchers, foundations, or anyone whose idea is constrained due to limited resources. Families with a child afflicted with a rare disease will have the opportunity to work with a network of academic experts to develop proposals tailored to their child’s specific needs.

“The research proposals will be evaluated by an expert panel of scientists from both academia and industry,” noted Claudia OuYang, PhD, BeHEARD co-director.

Arvin Gouw PhD, BeHEARD director, explained further: “Prizes for the scientific challenge include more than $600,000 of sponsored cutting-edge technology and services from participating scientific technology and research services organizations.”

The RGI initiative is supported by leading life sciences corporations and research centers. The contest prizes include highly sought-after research tools, such as animal mouse models from Taconic Biosciences and The Jackson Laboratory, drug repositioning services from Biovista, bioinformatics analysis services supplied by Tute Genomics, Maverix Biomics, DNA Software, Cypher Genomics, MediSapiens, and CRISPR cell lines provided by Biocytogen.

“RGI applauds the support of our sponsors,” noted Dr. Lin. “Their knowledge, resources and selfless support are crucial in the long fight to bring rare diseases under control.”

Learn more about BeHEARD and submit your research proposal here!


About the Rare Genomics Institute

RGI is a non-profit that makes cutting edge research technologies and experts accessible to rare disease patients. Partnering with top medical institutions, such as Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford, RGI helps custom-design personalized research projects for diseases so rare that no organization exists to help. By providing an expert network and an online crowdfunding mechanism, RGI helps families source, design, and fund personalized research projects in diseases not otherwise studied. Ultimately, RGI aims to expand on its current genome sequencing-focused approach to enable community funding to support any type of research that leads to rare disease therapeutics.

For more information about Rare Genomics Institute, visit

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