Tech watch highlights

11 August 2018
​​​Evaluation of the fox white 1.0 biomolecular measurementtechnology platform
Biomolecular interactions can easily be assessed on the Fox White 1.0 instrument developed by Fox Biosystems, which relies on gold-coated fiber optic surface plasmon resonance probes. This benchtop instrument combines the strengths of current standards to measure biomolecular interactions in one instrument, with the accuracy of Surface Plasmon Resonance and the ease-of-use and higher throughput of biolayer interferometry. As such, binding affinity, kinetics and target concentration can be determined within minutes.

Bioreceptor molecules can be easily immobilized onto the probes, after customizing them with
one of the available PEGylated functionalized monolayers, which range from carboxyl, his-tag and specific proteins, to small molecules, DNA and cells. Biomolecular interactions can be measured by dipping the probes into any type of liquid, avoiding the need for sample purification. Another advantage of Fox White 1.0 is its high sensitivity, with detection limits ranging from microto femtomolar. This technology will be evaluated in the labs of Anna Sablina (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology), and in the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research by the groups of Lucía Chavez-Gutierrez and Frederic Rousseau &
Joost Schymkowitz.

Whole human dna sequencing at VIB on the promethion from oxford nanopore technologies
The Tech Watch team and the VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology are proud to report a sequencing output of 98 GB on a single PromethION flow cell in 64 hours on a human DNA sample. This is a major leap forward for VIB scientists, as the achievement opens the door to the use of PromethION, which is still in its earlyaccess stage, for affordable full-human genome sequencing. The long reads obtained on this ONT platform provide a unique opportunity to study structural variants, including duplications and translocations, which are difficult to detect using massively parallel sequencing platforms.

This approach is particularly important, since structural variants (differing in variant size and sequence) that have been implicated in multiple diseases including cancer, neurological and autoimmune pathologies. A plethora of new nanopore sequencing applications will soon be released, ranging from epitranscriptome and epigenome analysis to single-cell sequencing methods. These are very exciting times for the sequencing field, and VIB is in the center of the action!

VIB single cell accelerator
Single-cell technologies have rapidly enhanced the molecular understanding of functional cell states underlying diseases such as cancer, inflammatory and neurodegenerative illnesses. As one of the earliest adopters of disruptive single-cell technologies (e.g. 10X Genomics Chromium), VIB is working at the cutting edge of this field. As a result, single-cell analysis is now increasingly being considered an essential tool used to understand and address fundamental research questions.

A new initiative, the ‘VIB Single Cell Accelerator’, was launched at the VIB seminar 2018. Through this initiative, VIB scientists will have access to extra funding to evaluate, develop and integrate emerging breakthrough single-cell technologies at VIB. This initiative will run for a 2-year trial period, and VIB groups can apply for Single Cell Accelerator funding through the Tech Watch application process. Technology platforms will be placed in the Technology Innovation Lab (physically embedded in a host lab space, a PI’s lab or a core facility), and these projects will be evaluated by two dedicated single-cell technology specialists. By combining disruptive single-cell platforms, specialized data analysis and modeling tools to process omics data, and coupling this expertise with respective research themes, this program enables VIB to excel rapidly in the single-cell field.
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VIB Tech Watch Team
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