Our Genomics Core Facility: A Bold Step For The Unit

16 July 2019
The establishment of a Genomics Core Facility at our Fajara site represents a bold undertaking for the Unit, and aligns with our agenda to build a strong core genomics capability, and become a stronger partner in the emerging “southern” genomics alliances, particularly in West Africa.

The Unit has already secured and will be investing on the infrastructure to host a state-of-the-art, international standard molecular biology laboratory, and will play a critical role in training scientists from sites and collaborators in West Africa, facilitating West African capacity-building in Genomics. Our mission is to make these complex technologies accessible and biologically interpretable for all research scientists at the MRCG at LSHTM, through the provision of state-of-the-art genomics technology, with the best possible service at the lowest cost.

The Genomics Core Facility, headed by Dr Abdul Karim Sesay, enables investigators with little experience in sample preparation, quality control or analysis to interrogate the genome. It will be developed to become the largest genomics The Genomics facility in Sub-Saharan Africa, and will help to lead the way in high-speed, comprehensive genomic. It will also ensure that the Unit remains at the forefront of research beyond Africa.

The Genomics Core facility is equipped with a range of high-tech sequencing equipment including: GenomeLab XP, SeqStudio Genetic Analyzer, Illumina MiSeq and Ion Torrent benchtop sequencers, a Pyrosequencer, MinION portable real time sequencers and associated laboratory devices, the first GridION sequencer in Africa. The services on offer cover the whole spectrum of applications utilising first, second and third generation sequencing platforms, at small to medium throughput.

In collaboration with Professor Martin Antonio, Director of World Health Organisation Regional Reference Laboratory for Invasive Bacterial Diseases, the lab successfully sequenced culture isolates from patient specimens collected from the field of suspected meningitis cases during a recent outbreak in a remote region in Northern Nigeria. The lab is currently working towards sequencing directly from patients CSF and will apply it in a field base workflow.