Sequencing Core

The Sequencing Core (SQC) is a multi-faceted facility providing nucleic acid extraction, quantitative PCR, sequencing and next-generation sequencing (NGS) services to UIC. The core houses instrumentation for customer use (quantitative PCRs, nucleic acid quantification devices, and acoustic shearing devices) and provides full service for nucleic acid extraction, quantitative PCR and analysis, daily capillary electrophoresis (Sanger) sequencing, and high-throughput NGS for analysis of DNA and RNA.

The core also provides cell line authentication through STR analysis. The facility has particular expertise in the high-throughput microbiome studies and is highly responsive for time-sensitive sequencing projects. The facility serves UIC researchers, as well as external academic and non-academic researchers. The facility shares instrumentation and collaborates closely with RRC’s Genomics Core (GMC).

The SQC has seven major areas of research activity, including:

  1. Nucleic acid extraction
  2. Quantitative analyses of nucleic acids
  3. Daily capillary electrophoresis sequencing
  4. Cell line authentication and Mycoplasma testing
  5. Amplicon-based NGS sequencing for microbiome studies
  6. Reagent sales for quantitative PCR and oligonucleotide synthesis
  7. Library preparation and sequencing of DNA and RNA templates using NGS platforms

Mission

The Sequencing Core (SQC) is a customer-friendly facility dedicated to assisting with and collaborating on research projects involving nucleic acids, with an emphasis on nucleic acid extraction, cell-line authentication, quantitative PCR, and sequencing (Sanger and next-generation). The DNAS facility aims to provide research support through access to high-end instrumentation and to knowledgeable staff capable of conducting projects from sample to data analysis. The SQC also offers scientific support through assistance in project design and planning, manuscript and grant writing, rapid generation of preliminary data, and letters of support.

Vision

The SQC aims to acquire instrumentation to serve the primary needs of UIC faculty and researchers, with a focus on supporting next-generation sequencing needs, including DNAseq, RNAseq, single-cell sequencing, ChIP-seq, methyl-seq, and microbiome sequencing (amplicon and shotgun). Due to the rapid change in sequencing technology, the SQC partners with other facilities, so it can most efficiently provide users with the most advanced sequencing instrumentation. The SQC is looking to improve automation at the next-generation sequencing library preparation step (i.e. converting total genomic DNA and total RNA to sequencer-ready molecules) to increase throughput and reproducibility.

The SQC is also looking to build capacity for shotgun metagenome and metatranscriptome sequencing for microbiome studies, as the field begins to shift away from amplicon-based sequencing as a primary tool for microbiome research.

Thus, the future of the SQC will include additional automation for library preparation, increased throughput for big-data sequencing projects, and partnerships with other sequencing institutions to provide customer access to the lowest cost, highest data output instrumentation available.