In 2007 I joined the team of the Genomic Service Facility as senior technician. After five years of assisting research in the Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group of Professor Christine Van Broeckhoven, I gained a lot of experience in optimizing sequencing and genotyping reactions, analyzing the data and dealing with troubleshooting. This knowledge helps contributing to the aim of our facility, resulting in quick and reliable high quality sequencing data.
Whilst capillary sequencing is still of great importance for our facility, we are still updating our techniques for the future. Therefor we invested in next generation sequencing technology by Illumina. Since 2014 I am responsible for operating and maintaining the MiSeq- and NextSeq 500-systems. On the MiSeq-platform we mainly focus on the targeted resequencing, for research and diagnostic purposes. The NextSeq 500 is at the moment used for processing Whole Exome Sequencing and RNA sequencing, Besides these standardly offered applications, we are always interested in exploring and optimizing new possibilities in order to perfectly suit our customer’s needs.
In January 2017, I was promoted to expert technologist within the Neuromics Support Facility, further focusing on NGS-applications. In order to maintain our competitive edge, we are always on the lookout for new and emerging technologies. Since 2017 we are building up in-house expertise with the Oxford Nanopore Technologies MinION and PromethION, offering us the possibility to sequence whole genomes and perform direct RNA-seq using the power of long sequencing reads. Our initial results highlighted the strong advantages of these new platforms and further disrupting the current NGS-sequencing field, moving onto long read sequences in order to have the possibility to detect (large) structural variants within the human genome, whilst having the possibility to preserve DNA and RNA modifications. Currently our team is exploring ONT platforms also for targeted sequencing approaches and developing streamlined protocols to optimally use equipment in house
The pipeline for processing samples and preparing libraries for these NGS-platforms platforms is highly automated by the use of a robotic platform (Biomek FXp). Quality control is streamlined by the usage of varying techniques (e.g. Agilent Fragment Analyzer, Trinean DropSense16, Invitrogen Qubit 3.0).
Besides offering a wide portfolio on DNA-sequencing technologies, we are always open for optimizing and testing out new technologies and sequencing kits in close collaboration with third parties.