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APR 21, 2021 6:00 AM PDT

Keynote Presentation: High-throughput Diagnostics and Sequencing at the Pandemic Response Lab NYC

C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
Speaker
  • Director, Pandemic Response Labs
    Biography

      Jon received his PhD with Edward Marcotte at the University of Texas at Austin, where he investigated the conservation of various biological properties through evolutionary time. He helped develop technologies for engineering the yeast genome and making yeast more amendable to the study of human genetics. Following this, the lab of Jef Boeke at NYU Langone Health for a postdoctoral position. During this time, he helped develop a high-throughput platform for assembly of megabase-scale DNA constructs, along with their site-directed delivery to mammalian cells. It was here that Jon developed the technologies that became the foundation for the PRL diagnostic platform.


    Abstract

    Controlling the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and ensuring a return to 'normal' activities in a post-COVID world requires two complementary efforts: 1) Widespread availability of reliable and accurate testing at massive scale to identify and isolate those infected, and 2) Continued identification and monitoring of emerging variants of concern to identify and avoid spread of resistant or vaccine-bypassing strains.

    During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, a group of leading experts came together to launch the Pandemic Response Lab (PRL) which was announced by NYC’s Mayor De Blasio in August 2020. The lab is a collaboration between Brooklyn-based Opentrons, a laboratory automation company, and scientists from NYU, Harvard, and beyond. PRL developed a novel platform for performing gold standard RT-qPCR COVID testing for upwards of 30,000 samples per day for the city of New York, with 24-hour turnaround time. We are now growing our footprint to new labs across the country to bring increased testing capacity where it’s needed most, as well as expanding our test capabilities to widespread surveillance of school children and businesses to allow safe reopening.

    Most recently, we have further leveraged our scientific talent to rapidly develop a from-scratch high-throughput platform for COVID genome sequencing. The pipeline is low-cost and designed to be directly integrated into our PCR testing platform, such that we are capable of rapid turnaround of sequences within days of a positive test result. This platform is currently delivering over 1,000 COVID genomes per week within NYC, and we are scaling to an anticipated capacity of 10s of thousands per week very soon.

    In this talk, I will discuss the origins and continued development of the PRL test and sequencing platforms, as well as some of the future vision for PRL in a post-COVID world.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. What can the Ct value of a PCR-based test tell you about the collected specimen?

    2. Explain the (current) primary goal of covid genome sequencing.

    3. What are the pros and cons of using a PCR-based variant detection method vs. sequencing?


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