The purpose of the Genomics Facility is to provide routine and state of the art genomic technologies to support cutting edge genomics research of the Cancer Center. Routine DNA sequencing provides DNA sequence of new DNA clones and recombinant vectors. Additional services focus on new or complex genomic technologies that can not be readily developed in a single laboratory, especially given the rapid technological advancements in this technical area. The Genomics Facility has changed considerably over the past several years to keep pace with the changing needs of Center members and the rapid growth in new genomic technologies. The Cancer Center has recently purchased an Illumina (Solexa) Genome Analyzer, and, through an NCI small equipment grant, an Illumina BeadStation. This grant was facilitated by a Cancer Center pilot grant that facilitated the development of a high throughput PCR platform. The Facility is widely used by all three research programs and almost every Cancer Center investigator. Although many larger institutions separate the sequencing and genomics functions, the Facility has developed a working model to combine the services effectively, primarily through cross-training of facility personnel. This approach provides stability and efficiency. The Facility treats DNA sequencing and the various genomics activities as separate services. The Illumina Genome Analyzer applications have been added to services provided by the Genomics Facility. During the next funding period, the Facility will introduce multiple approaches to monitoring epigenetic changes with the Illumina Genome Analyzer and Illumina promoter methylation arrays. In response to a significant interest of Center members in microRNA (miRNA) functions in development and disease, a high throughput Illumina miRNA platform will be established to complement the ABI low density miRNA arrays presently being used by the facility. Future plans also include the development of protocols that will allow investigators to look at gene expression in small numbers of cells, such as various types of stem cells.
The ability to determine the DNA sequence of cloned DNA and to now perform deep DNA sequence determination are fundamental tools of modern cancer biology. Analysis of gene expression patterns for number of genes in a single experiment promises to help elucidate the changes in networks that will help to target cancer therapeutics to the most critical point in these networks and to characterize cancers.
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