Single Molecule Electronic DNA Sequencing Platform for Personalized Medicine

Jun 11 2014 | By Holly Evarts | Photo: Alan Orling

Single molecule electronic DNA sequencing, a new technology developed at the laboratory of Jingyue Ju, Samuel Ruben-Peter G. Viele Professor of Engineering and Director of Center for Genome Technology and Biomolecular Engineering (CGT-BE) at Columbia Engineering, along with his collaborators, holds the key to reducing the cost of DNA sequencing, so that deciphering an individual’s genome will become a routine part of medical research and health care, a paradigm of personalized medicine.

The Ju laboratory in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the CGT-BE have been collaborating with Genia Technologies, Inc., researchers at Harvard University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) supported by a grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to develop a nanopore-based sequencing by synthesis (NanoSBS) system that will accelerate the use of DNA sequencing for wide application in clinical diagnosis and health care. This collaboration has focused on the research and development of a single molecule electronic NanoSBS platform combining Genia's complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuit and the NanoTag sequencing chemistry that was developed in a collaboration between the laboratories of Ju at Columbia and John Kasianowicz at NIST, along with the novel protein constructs from George Church’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School.

Genia has licensed the NanoSBS technology and the resulting single molecule electronic DNA sequencer is expected to be more accurate, faster, and cost-effective than current commercially available technologies in decoding the human genome. Recently, Roche, a leader in research-focused health care with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, has acquired Genia for $125 million in upfront payment, plus up to $225 million in milestone payments.

“We are extremely grateful for the generous support from the NIH, which has enabled us to make rapid progress in the development of the NanoSBS technology, the outstanding contributions from all the members of our research consortium, and the world-class expertise in technology transfer from our colleagues at Columbia Technology Ventures.” says Ju. “We are looking forward to working closely with our colleagues at Roche to develop a leading platform for personalized medicine.”