Hosting PacBio User Group Meeting June 27/28: Win Sequencing on our Sequel System

For the 5th year in a row, we’re proud to be hosting the annual PacBio East Coast User Group Meeting (UGM) & Workshops on June 27 & June 28 at the School of Pharmacy.  The UGM is a great opportunity to hear how scientists are using SMRT Sequencing to advance their research, a chance to learn best practices, and an opportunity to hear about application success stories. The agenda features speakers from Johns Hopkins University, The Jackson Laboratory, New England Biolabs, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, University of Massachusetts Medical School, North Carolina State University, University of Florida & more. In addition, PacBio staff will be on-hand to answer questions, share insights, and talk about the technology road map.


Two SMRT Sequencing interactive workshops take place on campus on June 27th:

  • From 9am – 1pm, the Bioinformatics Workshop will highlight new tools available within SMRT Analysis 4.x. The PacBio Bioinformatics team will share analysis guidance for ensuring genomes are publication ready, as well as discuss various multiplexed analyses available through SMRT Link and enabled by the latest protocols for the Sequel System.
  • From 2pm – 6pm, the Sample Prep Workshop will cover product updates, application updates, and sample preparation recommendations to achieve the longest reads possible. Interactive group breakout sessions will facilitate discussions about specific applications of SMRT Sequencing.

Register online to attend these events.


New to PacBio sequencing?  We’re offering a chance to win sequencing and analysis on our new Sequel System.  The Microbial SMRT Grant program is open until June 30 and entering is simple: just submit a brief application describing how you’d use the long reads, high accuracy, single-molecule resolution, and uniform coverage of SMRT Sequencing to fully characterize viruses, microbes, and/or their communities.


One winner will be chosen by a panel of scientists. Submit your entry today!

GRC Launches NanoString nCounter services – Win free reagents!

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new NanoString services. The nCounter Analysis System has the ability to digitally quantify changes in up to 800 DNA, RNA, and protein targets using a single detector from samples of limited volume and concentration without the need for amplification or library preparation. With a technology that expands our capabilities and complements our high-throughput sequencing platforms, we are excited to have the NanoString nCounter join our growing family of services.

Please join us for a lunch seminar on Wednesday to learn more about the technology and our services:

Introduction to NanoString Technologies: Digital counting of proteins, mRNA, and DNA at 800-Plex from a single sample

RSVP here

Speaker: Kelly Miller, Ph.D. NanoString Field Applications Scientist
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
Seminar:  12:00pm – 1:00pm
Office Hours available: 1:30pm – 5:00pm

University of Maryland Life Sciences Conference Center
801 West Baltimore St.
Invent and Advance Rooms

Apply for our NanoString Technologies Grant Contest and win $5000 in NanoString reagents! Submit a brief (500 word max) proposal by April 21, 2017 via email. The winner will be announced on May 5, 2017. Click here for more information.

If you can’t make the seminar but would like more information about the nCounter platform or our services, please contact us.

ASM SMRT Grant Winner: Squirrel Microbiome!

We’re pleased to announce the winner of this year’s SMRT Grant, which launched during the American Society for Microbiology annual meeting this summer. The grant program, co-sponsored by PacBio and the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS), was very competitive, with over 100 submitted proposals. From this broad range of entries, our judges faced quite a task choosing just one recipient for the grant.

Congratulations to Jessica Sieber from the University of Minnesota Duluth, who impressed reviewers with her proposal, “Metagenomic analysis of the gut microbiota of the 13-lined ground squirrel, a model fat storing hibernator.”

Ground squirrels have been models for human health conditions from diabetes and obesity to longevity and hypothermia. These particular squirrels are scientifically interesting because they almost triple their weight before going into a six-month hibernation, during which they consume nothing. Sieber notes that the hibernation process involves reducing the squirrel’s body temperature to 4 degrees Celsius. While that should be a challenging environment for the animal’s gut microbes, in fact they appear to thrive and may be responsible for folate production to protect the squirrel’s brain during hibernation. A deeper understanding of the role these microbiota play in this process may have downstream implications for human health.

Sieber’s project involves using SMRT Sequencing to produce a high-resolution picture of these gut microbial communities, including how they withstand the cold hibernation temperature. We look forward to learning about the new insights she discovers as a result of this grant!

In addition to the grant winner, the submitters of the top 10 proposals will have the opportunity to conduct their projects through IGS with a 20% discount on SMRT sequencing. Thank you to all of the submitters who participated in the grant competition. We look forward to a number of exciting new projects in the coming months!

Do you have a project that could benefit from SMRT sequencing or any of our other sequencing and analysis services? If so, please contact us for a free project consultation.

Do you have this year’s SMRTest Microbe? Apply Now!

As announced at ASM Microbe last month, the GRC and PacBio are once again co-sponsoring the “SMRTest Microbe” Grant Program. We are accepting research proposals for one more week!

Submit a short application (<250 words) describing your microbe or microbial community and how it would benefit from the long reads, high accuracy and direct detection of epigenetic modifications generated by SMRT Sequencing. One winner will be selected by a panel of scientists and will receive up to four library preparations and a sequencing run using up to eight SMRT Cells. Sequencing and bioinformatics analysis will be performed by the GRC, a PacBio Certified Service Provider.

Are you interested in microbial genomes, complex populations, or methylomes? If so, submit your proposals by July 15, 2016.

Other restrictions apply. See official rules.

The PacBio Sequel is here! Join us for the PacBio User Group Meeting – June 8

We are excited to announce that our PacBio Sequel System has arrived! The newest instrument from PacBio joins the RS II system which has been with us since 2011. The Sequel uses redesigned SMRT Cells containing more than one million ZMWs (zero mode waveguides), a significant increase over the 150,000 ZMWs on RS II cells. The increased capacity of the cells means a potential for up to 6x as many reads per run compared to the RS II system. Over the past several weeks, we have begun evaluating and optimizing the Sequel. While initial supplies of the new SMRT Cells are limited, we expect improved cells and the next chemistry release in the coming months. Our goal is to offer sequencing on the Sequel as part of our services portfolio this summer.

If you are interested in hearing more about PacBio applications and the Sequel System at GRC, please join us as we host the PacBio East Coast User Group Meeting on June 8.

Pacbio Sequel

The PacBio Sequel System next to the Pacbio RS II.

 SMRT Cells

Evolution of PacBio’s SMRT Cell.  From Left to Right: SMRT Cell V2, SMRT Cell V3, and SMRT Cell 1M.

SMRTest Microbe Grant Winner: Identifying antibiotic resistance mechanisms with SMRT Sequencing

Congratulations to the winner of our recent “SMRTest Microbe” grant competition, Dr. Erin Price at the Menzies School of Health Research in Australia! The grant program, co-sponsored by PacBio and the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS), was very competitive, with over 100 submitted proposals.

Dr. Price will receive SMRT® Sequencing and analysis from IGS — using up to 4 SMRTbell libraries and 8 SMRT Cells — to characterize the mechanisms behind the emergence of antibiotic resistance in Burkholderia pseudomallei, a highly pathogenic bacterium that causes the potentially deadly disease melioidosis. Dr. Price and colleagues have recently uncovered the development of meropenem resistance in local cases of B. pseudomallei infection, along with evidence that this resistance is linked to at least two mortalities in Australia so far.

Prior short-read based attempts to sequence and assemble these meropenum-resistant B. pseudomallei genomes have suffered from the inability to scaffold across highly repetitive and paralogous loci, low genome complexity, high GC content, and genomic inversions. Dr. Price plans to use the long reads generated by SMRT Sequencing to overcome these assembly issues and close the genomes. As noted in her proposal, complete genome sequences “will provide significant insights into the molecular basis of meropenem resistance in this dangerous pathogen.”

In addition to the grant winner, the submitters of the top 10 proposals will have the opportunity to conduct their projects through IGS with a 20% discount on SMRT sequencing. Thank you to all of the submitters who participated in the grant competition. We look forward to a number of exciting new projects in the coming months!

Do you have a project that could benefit from SMRT sequencing or any of our other sequencing and analysis services? If so, please contact us for a free project consultation.


IGS to Host Pacific Biosciences User Group Meeting

The Institute for Genome Sciences is pleased to once again host the PacBio Americas East Coast UGM and Workshops in Baltimore from June 16-18, 2015.

The UGM meeting is a day-long event on June 17th.  An optional half-day Bioinformatics workshop will be held on the afternoon of June 16th and the morning of June 18th, and an afternoon sample prep workshop will be held on June 16th. The bioinformatics workshop will cover large genome assembly with FALCON and analysis for the Iso-Seq™ method, among other topics. Special guests Jon Badalamenti and Sergey Koren will host on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. The sample prep workshop will include talks on ultra-long DNA fragments, barcoding, targeted sequencing with solution-based capture, the Iso-Seq method, an intro to the SMRT Portal, and more.

View the agenda and register to attend.

GRC a PacBio Certified Service Provider; Co-sponsoring SMRTest Microbe Grant Program at ASM 2015

We are pleased to announce that the GRC is the first PacBio certified service provider on the East Coast. This recently announced program is a partnership between PacBio and select sequence providers who have completed the certification process and offer the highest quality sequencing and analysis services using the PacBio technology. We offer a full range of PacBio services, including whole genome sequencing, transcriptome sequencing via Iso-Seq, targeted amplicon sequencing, and other customized applications. Our analysis team has expertise in genome assembly and annotation, variant analysis, transcriptome analysis, and base modification detection. We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with PacBio and offering the highest quality sequencing and analysis to our customers and collaborators.

As part of this new partnership, the GRC is proud to co-sponsor the SMRTest Microbe Grant Program. One lucky winner will receive sequencing and analysis services from the GRC. To enter, submit a short grant application detailing your project and how it would benefit from the long reads and high consensus accuracy of SMRT Sequencing. The deadline for submissions is June 27, 2015.

For more information on our full range of sequencing and analysis services, visit our Laboratory Services and Analysis Services pages. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like a quote.

If you are attending ASM 2015 next week, please stop by the IGS booth (#776) to learn more about the grant program and all of our sequencing and analysis services. See you in New Orleans!

HiSeq 4000 Update

We are excited to announce that our HiSeq 4000 is here and running. We are off to the races! The run time for two flow cells is down to 3.5 days, which will allow us to complete projects faster than ever. Each dual flowcell run can sequence up to 12 human genomes, 180 exomes, or 100 transcriptomes.

Our first flow cell, a PE150 run, produced 2.9 billion clusters and more than 850 Gb of data.

Here are some basic stats from our first flow cell:

Lane Total Reads Total Bases %PF %Q20 %Q30
1 727,970,622 109,923,563,922 75.41 94.42 87.53
2 777,363,006 117,381,813,906 80.53 96.27 91.53
3 754,973,540 114,001,004,540 78.21 96.24 91.49
4 753,317,088 113,750,880,288 78.03 95.86 90.36
5 749,170,142 113,124,691,442 77.61 96.21 91.07
6 684,821,518 103,408,049,218 70.94 96.04 90.89
7 665,485,116 100,488,252,516 68.94 95.65 90.25
8 602,875,822 91,034,249,122 62.45 95.17 89.38


Do you have a project that could benefit from the combination of increased output and read length the HiSeq 4000 offers? If so, please contact us. We will discuss the details of your project with you and guide you through the process of planning your sequencing experiments.

Over 100 Publications Strong!

Less than eight years after beginning in an empty lab, our sequencing and analysis has contributed to more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. The first, published in Nature, was a comparison of the gut microbiome in obese and lean twins (DOI: 10.1038/nature07540). Since then, data generated by the GRC have been used for many other types of studies. Check out our list of publications.

If you have a publication resulting from data generated by the GRC that isn’t listed here, please let us know!

Thanks to all of our collaborators on these exciting projects for making the GRC a success. We look forward to the next 100 publications!