BioMicro Center News
JUNE 5, 2012
A couple major Illumina announcements to begin with. First, thanks to the generosity of Dr. Chris Love, the BioMicro Center now has an Illumina MiSeq available. The MiSeq is Illumina’s newest sequencer and is optimized for speed and long read lengths. The MiSeq flowcell contains a single lane with 5 million clusters. While this is well below the 200m reads per lane on the HiSeq, the small surface area enables it to run much faster with a cycle taking only 5 minutes. This means that a 150+150 paired end run can be done in a little over a day, instead of requiring two weeks or more of sequencing. The MiSeq is ideal for applications that do not require enormous read depth, such as microRNA analysis, resequencing of small genomes, barcode sequencing or sequencing amplicons. There are a number of caveats about the MiSeq that can impact your experiment, most notably that there is no separate control lane which means you need to be more careful about base balance, and we are happy to talk with you more about it.
The second announcement is about our venerable GAIIs. As some of you may have noticed, submitting samples for the GAII has been an exercise in extreme patience as we have struggled to fill flowcells due to low demand. The addition of the MiSeq, and some fantastic efforts by Michael Gravina in the lab, has enabled us to rework how we are processing GAII flowcells. We have been able to create partial flowcells on the GAII by altering recipes and making a few minor “modifications”. This has allowed us to move from a model like the HiSeq, where we need a full flowcell before we run, to a model where we can run as soon as the samples pass quality control, more like the MiSeq. However, unlike the MiSeq, we can run multiple lanes at once. Also, running partial flowcells means we can skip parts of the imaging time which does speed up the sequencing (though not to the level of the MiSeq). Some critical caveats: First, these methods are not supported by Illumina, so we cannot offer to replace failed runs. Second, unlike the HiSeq, the PhiX lane is *not* included. You must choose to sequence a lane of PhiX if you want to do control normalization. Finally, this service is completely "a la carte" so the pricing schema is quite different. To go along with these changes, we have completely reworked the Illumina page on our website, so take a look there for more information about the MiSeq, the new GAII methods and pricing.
APRIL 19, 2012
There have been a large number of changes in BioMicro to catch you up on in several different areas since my last newsletter. First, I need to begin by introducing Shmulik Motola, our new lab manager. Shmulik has been on board for several months now and is coordinating the flow of projects through the lab. Shmulik did his graduate work at the Weizmann Institute and was a Postdoctoral Associate in Dr. Ernest Fraenkel’s lab here at MIT. Shmulik is the go to person for questions you have about the status of your projects, Illumina queue times, etc. and can also help you with experimental design (email@example.com)
Second, we have expanded our equipment repertoire with the purchase of a Sage BluePippin preparative electrophoresis system (http://www.sagescience.com/bluepippin/). The Pippin prep is an automated system for extracting bands from agarose gels. We are currently testing the system out and will be deploying it to several of our Illumina library preparation methods. We’re planning to use it as part of the RNAseq methodology to provide much tighter size distributions than the SPRIworks can manage. In addition, high percentage agarose gels should enable us to begin to offer library preparation for small RNA sequencing (contact Shmulik if you would like to volunteer for our beta). Because the BluePippin has a pulse field feature, it should also be useful for building jumping libraries as well as isolating fragments for the new “long read” sequencing technologies, such as Oxford Nanopore. Of course, the Pippin prep is also available for your more “mundane” chores such as isolating bands for cloning.
Finally, our BioInformatics team has had a major overhaul. Dr. Fugen Li left MIT at the end of last year and has been replaced by Dr. Ryan Abo from the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Vincent Butty from Dr. Chris Burge’s lab. Both bring with them years of experience and, along with Dr. Huiming Ding, are available to help with any informatics challenges you have in your research, especially those related to sequencing. In addition to providing direct research support, we are looking forward to offering short classes on informatics beginning in the summer or fall. We’re in the planning stages now so if you have ideas on subjects you would like us to cover, please let us know.
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