October 12, 2022  |  Cancer research

2022 Cancer Transcriptomics SMRT Grant winners

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At PacBio, we are driven to create the most sophisticated multiomic sequencing technologies so that you can forge a new frontier in cancer research.

Through the SMRT Grant program, PacBio awards free HiFi sequencing services to outstanding research proposals that have the potential to advance scientific knowledge across the full spectrum of sequencing applications from cancer biology to the microbial sciences, plant and animal biology, and more.

HiFi sequencing is the gold standard of long-read methodologies, generating the most complete, contiguous, and correct assemblies of even the most complex genomes. Our cutting-edge Iso-Seq method brings the clarity and precision of HiFi data to both bulk and single-cell RNA sequencing applications, enabling cancer researchers to capture full-length isoforms for understanding complex cellular processes like never before.

The winning cancer investigators of 2022

We are proud to present the recipients of our 2022 Cancer Transcriptomics SMRT Grant and are excited by the potential of their ideas to advance human health through a better understanding of cancer biology.
This year’s Cancer Transcriptomics SMRT Grant received many submissions and a multitude of innovative and promising ideas. We selected three outstanding winners from around the world whose potentially impactful ambitions span a range of research areas including computational transcriptomics and myelodysplasia. These are the winning cancer research proposals of 2022:


Andre Dara Sim

Andre Darah Sim, PhD

Post-Doctoral Research Associate
Genome Institute of Singapore


Extending Bambu’s Transcript Discovering to PacBio Data

Cancer cells are known to undergo transcriptome reshuffling, resulting in the expression of several aberrant and novel transcripts. Transcript discovery is key in understanding the physiology of cancer cells, however, most transcript discovery tools developed for long-read technology do not discriminate between sequencing technologies. Bambu is one such tool, which while being a top performer in transcript discovery, uses a technology agnostic model. Doing so provides Bambu generality, but it precludes it from taking advantage of PacBio’s highly accurate base calling. We propose to extend Bambu with a PacBio module. Together this will not only improve the functionality of Bambu with a bespoke PacBio module and help PacBio data lead the way in understanding the transcriptional state of cancer progression.


Anna S Nam

Anna S. Nam, MD

Assistant Professor of Pathology
Weill Cornell Medicine


Dissecting the effects of type 1 interferon-induced ADAR1 editing in primary cancerous blood cells

Type 1 interferon (IFN) signaling is critical in tumorigenesis and immunotherapy. The study of in vivo isolated IFN signaling in human tumor is challenging in the presence of other cytokines in the highly complex tumor microenvironmental milieu. Precise long-range sequencing will enable us to identify A-to-I edits (with the germline reads from untreated cells) and consequent isoform changes. These findings may lead to identification of novel transcript isoforms and edits that enable enhanced fitness in the cancerous cells.


Syed Mian

Syed A Mian, PhD

Research Fellow, Bonnet Lab
The Francis Crick Institute


Identification of RNA mis-splicing architecture in bone marrow microenvironment cells in myelodysplasia

Myelodysplasia (MDS) is strongly associated with presence of somatic mutations in the spliceosome genes in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Given the limitation of short-read sequencing, we are not able to fully annotate these global mis-splicing isoform changes induced in the niche cells. Therefore, we would like to use the long-read RNA sequencing (Iso-Seq) method to perform bulk RNA sequencing of co-cultured HSCs and niche cells (MSCs and endothelial cells).  The data generated here can be a steppingstone for not only future projects related to MDS but can also be applied to other cancers where microenvironment plays an essential role.


These exceptional research proposals showcase the many ways in which the length and accuracy of HiFi sequencing and the Iso-Seq method can be used to tackle some of the most challenging and intriguing questions in cancer biology. If you’re interested in obtaining the explanatory power of HiFi sequencing to open new avenues of inquiry in your research program, consider applying for one of multiple SMRT Grants.

Once again, congratulations to all our winners!

About the SMRT Grant program

Interested in free sequencing for an upcoming project? Learn how to apply for future SMRT grants.

The SMRT Grant program offers scientific investigators the opportunity to win free HiFi sequencing services for their research projects on a yearly basis.

Grants are offered across all areas of the life sciences. Whether you are studying intricate microbiomes, complex cancer tumors, rare and endangered species, or the dark regions of the human genome – there is a grant available for you.

To apply, simply select an open grant program aligned with your field of study, read the instructions, fill out the application, and succinctly tell us how your research will benefit from HiFi sequencing. Applications are then evaluated, and winners will be contacted by PacBio to coordinate free consumables, library preparation, HiFi sequencing, and initial bioinformatic analyses provided by an approved sequencing service provider.


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