Navigation Links
Mercyhurst University's new DNA sequencer to accelerate scientific research in region

From water quality studies to genetic counseling, the acquisition of a DNA sequencer by Mercyhurst University marks an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate biological and medical research in the region.

Thanks to a $125,000 grant from the George I. Alden Trust and a $10,000 award from the Samuel P. Black Family Fund of the Erie Community Foundation, the Mercyhurst Biology Department has purchased an Illumina MiSeq DNA sequencing machine, which will be used for a variety of university-driven research projects, among them the ongoing investigation into bacterial and viral pathogens in the recreational waters of Lake Erie at Presque Isle State Park, said Biology Department Chair Steven Mauro, Ph.D., who wrote the grant proposal.

The DNA sequencer is a multi-faceted machine that allows for rapid and robust amplification of DNA sequences from any organism. For example, a single run of the machine would identify more than one million different bacterial or viral species in a gram of soil or drop of water. With that kind of power and speed, Mauro said, the applications are numerous and multidisciplinary in scope, spanning the fields of medicine, agriculture, aquaculture, forensic science and bioterrorism.

He said crime labs use DNA sequencing to analyze evidence from a crime scene to provide a definitive DNA fingerprint of a potential suspect. Health care centers use it in disease detection and in genetic counseling.

DNA sequencing technology of this caliber does not exist in the Erie region, Mauro said, necessitating that local universities, hospitals, environmental and other research-based organizations outsource their work to DNA sequencing companies. Mercyhurst, he said, intends to share its new resource with local institutions: free of charge in some instances, student training, for example; and, in other cases, through contract services.

"The significance of Mercyhurst obtaining this kind of equipment is that it is typically found at large medical institutions and major research universities, not at a small, independent, undergraduate university such as Mercyhurst," Mauro said. "Receiving this grant speaks volumes to the reputation of the sciences at Mercyhurst and will enable us to further strengthen our research initiatives and increase career opportunities for our students and, to the extent we can, advance the scientific needs of our community."

Currently, five full-time biology faculty members will use the machine for ongoing water quality studies in their respective fields, which include identification of bacterial and viral pathogens in recreational waters, investigation of the cause of tumor incidence in fish, physiological response of insects to global warming and exploration of soil conditions that stimulate vegetable production. One professor from the chemistry and biochemistry department will use it to examine the interaction of organisms with chemicals of concern in the environment.

While more than a dozen Mercyhurst projects will be impacted, Mauro estimated that as many as 30 researchers and up to 100 undergraduate students in the area would receive training on the machine annually.

Tim Cooney, manager of basic science research at UPMC Hamot, anticipates being among them.

"We applaud Steve's effort to obtain grant money for this equipment," Cooney said. "The acquisition of a DNA sequencer adds to this region's research armamentarium, further broadening the scope of studies we can conceptualize and implement. This can run the spectrum from bacterial speciation to using genotypic analysis to help disclose propensity for certain diseases or pathologic states."


Contact: Debbie Morton
Mercyhurst College

Related biology news :

1. Mercyhurst University study probes impact of climate change on ectotherms
2. Grant furthers Mercyhurst research for human pathogens in Great Lakes
3. Life Technologies to supply new Covaris DNA fragmenting products for Ion Torrent Semiconductor Sequencers
4. Mount Sinai leads global program using stem cells to accelerate cures for Alzheimers disease
5. Researchers at IRB Barcelona discover a general mechanism that accelerates tumor development
6. Analytical trick accelerates protein studies
7. UCLA scientists develop new therapeutics that could accelerate wound healing
8. Sanford-Burnham and Intrexon Corporation establish collaboration to accelerate stem cell research
9. Rice agriculture accelerates global warming, new research finds
10. Molecular movies may accelerate anti-cancer drug discovery
11. NSF research alliances begin new efforts to accelerate innovation
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute ... Allen Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital ... 3D imaging data, the first application of deep learning ... human stem cell lines and a growing suite of ... platform for these and future publicly available resources created ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 KEY FINDINGS The global ... a CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period of ... factor for the growth of the stem cell market. ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is ... geography. The stem cell market of the product is ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... April 3, 2017  Data captured by ... platform, detected a statistically significant association between ... to treatment and objective response of cancer ... to predict whether cancer patients will respond ... as well as to improve both pre-infusion potency ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to improve patient outcomes and quality of ... trends in analytical testing are being attributed to new regulatory requirements for all ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for its 4th year. ... San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA office bearers, regulators, ... government officials from around the world to address key issues in device compliance, quality ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... A new study published in Fertility and ... in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched cohort study ... comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the authors of ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Poway, California (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... afternoon speaking at his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event ... San Diego, CA and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined ...
Breaking Biology Technology: