Life Technologies, a global biotechnology company, has announced five Innovation Grant recipients in the Digital PCR Applications Grant Program during the American Society for Human Genetics (ASHG) conference in Boston. Each will receive a QuantStudio 3D Digital PCR System for research projects that demonstrate innovative applications in digital PCR.
Scientists from research labs around the world submitted more than 120 applications, from which Life Technologies chose 20 finalist experiments to generate data using the QuantStudio 3D Digital PCR System. Five labs were chosen to receive the grants with guidance from Life Technologies' Scientific Advisory Council.
Dr. Antonio Jimenez-Velasco, Carlos Haya Hospital, Spain, is working on the quantification of donor/recipient chimerism in bone marrow transplants of leukemia samples. His team tested the high sensitivity of dPCR to detect increasing levels of mixed chimerism in clinical research samples from stem cell transplantation patients with leukemia. Accurate detection of high chimeric levels, a tell-tale sign of risk for relapse, could one day open the door for dPCR as an early detection method for transplantation outcomes.
Dr. Andre Pietrzykowsi, Rutgers University, is working on the quantification of pri-miRNA transcripts in neuronal cells following exposure to alcohol. His work on alcoholism and use of dPCR is enabling his team to pinpoint the importance of a particular microRNA in the development of alcohol tolerance in humans.
Dr. Bruno Ping, Royal Surrey County Hospital, U.K., is focused on the determination of HER2 copy number variation in FFPE-derived breast cancer samples. Ping's team was able to measure small changes in HER2 genes, an important marker to identify breast cancer outcomes. He also demonstrated cost-savings and the potential for the system to one day replace current tests.
Dr. Pengyu Zhu, China Agriculture University, is working on the detection of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in the mixture of complex food. Zhu's team took a dPCR approach in a project that sought to detect GMOs in processed food—an application in which dPCR's high sensitivity is ideal for identifying target molecules in mixed food samples.
Dr. Shin-ichiro Fujii, National Metrology Institute of Japan, is focused on the absolute quantification of reference samples. As the keepers of true measurements, the team compared dPCR data with that of other measuring approaches, such as isotope dilution mass spectrometry (ID-MS), to determine using known concentrations of DNA molecules.
The QuantStudio(TM) 3D Digital PCR System is the first chip-based instrument designed for a rapidly growing segment of the genetic analysis market. Featuring the simplest workflow and smallest footprint, the benchtop platform is designed for experiments requiring absolute quantification of targeted DNA molecules.