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Innovation Lab

Technology Innovation @ NYGC

The Technology Innovation Lab at New York Genome Center is a creative hub for generating new technologies, protocol development, equipment evaluation, and informatics tool development/integration.  Although our interests and focus are constantly evolving due to the fast-paced advancement of genomic technologies, we are committed to developing technologies with the potential to advance research for the wider scientific community, some of which are highlighted below.

Single-Cell Sequencing

While standard DNA and RNA library preparations start with between 0.1 and 1 microgram of DNA, a single cell contains only 6 pg (1 millionth of a microgram) of DNA. That DNA is highly precious as there is only one copy of each sequence. Nonetheless, we can prepare libraries after amplifying the DNA from single cells and we are working on improved methods to sequence 10s of thousands of single cells at once for various applications. For more information, follow this link.

Microfluidics

Nucleic-acid sequencing is often limited by having small amounts of DNA or RNA to work with. One way around this problem is to perform reactions in nanoliter tubing or channels, rather than the more conventional microliter-volume test tubes and plates. By employing smaller volumes, the smaller amounts of material will be present at more normal concentrations, maintaining reaction efficiency.  Small reactions have the additional benefits of lower cost and faster reaction times, while obviating manual handling.  We are building microfluidic capabilities to work with these minute volumes of material in an robust, automated fashion.

 

Methods Development

We are developing various novel technologies to speed up, reduce costs and decrease the handling of next-generation library preparation reactions. One such technique allows us to purify DNA or RNA from complex mixtures far more quickly and cheaply than conventional magnetic beads. We are parlaying these advances into improved production laboratory processes, but also developing an improved FFPE tissue-extraction method and an ultra-cheap library prep for low-pass population-level sequencing.  For more information, follow this link.

Long Read Next-Generation Sequencing

We have an active program in pursuing long read technologies to complement our Illumina short read platforms. We are working on both true long read methods and synthetic or pseudo long reads; the latter are methods to glean long-range information from the bioinformatic association of short-read sequences to other sequences located physically nearby, but at a reasonable distance. These methods have the demonstrated potential to improve de novo assembly, structural variant calling and phasing of haplotype information, among other applications.

 

This work was partially supported by a gift from the Simons Foundation.