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The Sabes Fund for Genomics and Life Epigenetics Announce 2018 Winners of GenoPitch Grants to University of Minnesota Researchers
Winning Projects Study Skull-Expanding Electric Fish in the Amazon River and Ways to Stop the Spread of Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs

MINNEAPOLIS, May 10, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Sabes Fund for Genomics in partnership with Life Epigenetics, the insurtech subsidiary of GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH), announced two winners of $2500 awards for genomics pilot projects as part of the GenoFling Program held at the University of Minnesota on April 13.

Winners of GenoPitch grants awarded by the Sabes Fund for Genomics and Life Epigenetics
2017 and 2018 winners of GenoPitch grants awarded by the Sabes Fund for Genomics and Life Epigenetics: (from left) 2017 winners Nick Fountain-Jones and Daniel Jones; 2018 winner Kory Evans, Life Epigenetics Chief Operating Officer Steve Sabes, University of Minnesota Genomics Center Director Kenneth Beckman, and 2018 winner Satoshi Ishii.


Life Epigenetics logo


The 2018 winners are:

  • Kory Evans, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Minnesota, who is studying the genes that cause incredible skeletal changes in male neotropical electric fishes during mating season: their skulls elongate to enable them to fight other males. Evans will use the grant to collect genomic material and study gene expression in the samples he will bring back from field work in Peru.
  • Satoshi Ishii, assistant professor in the University’s BioTechnology Institute, will use one of the university’s high-speed analytic tools to identify antibiotic-resistance genes in bacteria, a first step in developing strategies to prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that, left unchecked, is predicted to be the leading cause of death worldwide in 2050.

The winners were chosen from among 11 submissions pitched by genomics researchers at the University of Minnesota. The other projects presented in five-minute pitches during the GenoFling event ranged from cancer research, gene therapy to prevent blindness, the development of microorganisms that could prevent lake and river pollution, to the study of snail hosts of parasites that are killing moose in Minnesota. It is the second year the grants have been awarded by The Sabes Fund for Genomics in partnership with Life Epigenetics.

“We are thrilled to be funding these two projects that demonstrate the incredible breadth of research that is taking place at the University of Minnesota,” said Steve Sabes, Life Epigenetics Chief Operating Officer. “It’s rewarding to have a program of this caliber right in our backyard in Minneapolis. The partnership we have formed with the University of Minnesota Genomics Center is important to the growth of our company and we are happy to support the work that is making a difference with students, faculty and the world at large.”

“This has become a highlight of the academic year at the Genomics Center,” said Dr. Kenneth Beckman, Director of the University of Minnesota Genomics Center. “The applicants have worked very hard in developing pilots that further the science and have real-world applications. We are very grateful to have the support of The Sabes Fund for Genomics and Life Epigenetics in encouraging this research.”

About Life Epigenetics

Life Epigenetics is the insurtech subsidiary of GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH) that is dedicated to creating transformational technology for the life insurance industry based on advanced epigenetic science. The company’s “DNA methylation-based predictor of mortality technology,” exclusively licensed from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), provides unprecedented new insight into longevity using epigenetics.

For more information about Life Epigenetics, Inc., visit www.lifeegx.com

About The Sabes Fund for Genomics

The Sabes Fund for Genomics has been established by Jon and Steve Sabes for the purposes of supporting the University of Minnesota science community and its activities related to genomics. Providing a resource to the University of Minnesota, where Jon and Steve and their father, Robert, received a Juris Doctorate, a PhD in Chemistry, and BA, respectively, is an important legacy for the Sabes family. Genomics is a fascinating and relevant field of research which can be of benefit to not only all humanity, but to all life. The Sabes family deemed it appropriate to help researchers and promote the University of Minnesota Genomics Center under the leadership of Dr. Kenneth Beckman.

About GWG Holdings, Inc.

GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: GWGH) is a financial services company committed to transforming the life insurance industry through disruptive and innovative products and services. The Company was founded to earn non-correlated returns from life insurance assets and create opportunities for consumers to obtain significantly more value for their life insurance policies in a secondary market compared to the traditional options offered by the insurance industry. The Company is extending its business in the life insurance industry through the application of advanced epigenetic technology. Since 2006, the Company has provided seniors over $477 million in value for their life insurance and owns a portfolio of $1.68 billion in face value of policy benefits as of December 31, 2017.

For more information about GWG Holdings, Inc. email info@gwglife.com or visit www.gwgh.com.

The University of Minnesota Genomics Center

The University of Minnesota Genomics Center (UMGC) provides genomic technologies and services to researchers and clinicians at the University of Minnesota, and to external academic and industry scientists throughout the United States and internationally. UMGC offers state-of-the-art instrumentation and an array of services, including sequencing, Next-generation Sequencing, long-read sequencing, expression analysis, genotyping, epigenomics, single-cell genomics, metagenomics, and support services such as nucleic acid extraction and quality control.

For more information about UMGC email kbeckman@umn.edu or visit www.genomics.umn.edu

Media Contacts:

Dan Callahan
Director of Communication
Life Epigenetics
(612) 746-1935
dcallahan@lifeegx.com

Michael Winikoff
Communications Director
University of Minnesota BioTechnology Institute
(612) 414-0051
michaelw@umn.edu

GWG Holdings, Inc.