MAY 25, 2017 6:00 AM PDT

In-House Technology Development for Next Gen Sequencing, Tissue Handling and beyond, at the BC Cancer Agency

Presented at: Lab Automation 2017
Speaker
  • Instrumentation Group Leader, BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre
    Biography
      Robin Coope is the Instrumentation Group Leader at the BC Cancer Agency's Genome Sciences Centre and has been in the genomics field since 2000. In this position Dr. Coope is responsible for evaluating new instrumentation as well as designing de-novo solutions. He holds a BASc and MASc in Engineering Physics and a PhD in Physics from the University of British Columbia. At the GSC, Dr. Coope led several large scale automation efforts including mechanizing a large scale genomic mapping pipeline to characterize large scale rearrangements in follicular lymphoma genomes and more recently, leading the development of the first 96 channel size selection robot for NGS sample preparation. The latter has recently been licensed to a spinoff company, Coastal Genomics, who are commercializing it. As co-director of the Genome British Columbia Technology Development Platform, Dr. Coope has also been involved in several biomedical device development projects, including a novel implant for minimally invasive fixation of pelvic fractures, which has also been recently been licensed. He has published on solid state physics, display research and genome and biology and technology.

    Abstract

    The Instrumentation Group at the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) is unusual in having an engineering group and extensive prototyping facilities embedded in a biomedical research and clinical cancer treatment facility. The group has completed numerous pipeline-specific automation projects, and in one case, enabled the GSC to participate in a major international consortium based on our in-house technology. In-house solutions range from simple manual devices to components integrated with liquid handlers, to full robots as well as ongoing programming of the GSC’s liquid handlers. This presentation will highlight significant projects and some lessons in efficient prototyping and good software practices that have been learned.

    The group’s primary role is programming the GSC’s commercial liquid handling robots, working closely with our methods development, quality assurance and production teams. This joint approach, with expert molecular biologists working in tandem with expert programmers and independent QA, has produced robust methods for a variety of sample types. In fact, we have harmonized chemistry and liquid handling protocols to the extent that nine different NGS library types (PCR-free gDNA, FFPE DNA, RNAseq, CHiP, Bisulfite Seq, (exome or other) capture samples and circulating cell free gDNA) run under one main program. This has substantial advantages but also potential pitfalls, which will be described.


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