December 13, 2022  |  Plant + animal biology

2022 Plant + Animal SMRT Grant winners

coffee tree with red fruit
PacBio is driven to create the most sophisticated multiomic sequencing technologies in the world so that you can forge a new frontier in biology.

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 research to the microbial sciences, plant and animal biology, and more.

The winning plant + animal investigators of 2022

This year’s Plant + Animal SMRT Grant received numerous submissions with a multitude of innovative ideas. From this pool of excellent proposals, one application was chosen as the winner due to its utilization of multiple HiFi sequencing capabilities (including epigenetics, phasing, and pangenome construction) to confirm a hypothesis that would not be testable with competing technologies.

We are proud to announce this year’s 2022 Plant + Animal SMRT Grant winners:
Justin Conover

Justin Conover, PhD.
Postdoctoral Researcher, NSF Fellow
Iowa State University + University of Arizona

Joel Sharbrough

Joel Sharbrough, PhD.
Assistant Professor
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

The research proposal: genome architecture and evolution in allotetraploid coffee

Coffea arabica makes up ~60% of the world’s coffee supply, but its allopolyploid genome has impeded efforts to characterize patterns of genetic variation and improve  yield. The coffee genome exhibits extensive recombination between its two constituent sub genomes, but diagnosing the resulting rearrangements is impossible using the current C. arabica assembly (constructed with short-read and CLR sequencing data) and those of its two diploid progenitors, Coffea canephora and Coffea eugenioides. Therefore, we propose to use PacBio HiFi technology to sequence, assemble, and analyze the C. arabica, C. canephora, and C. eugenioides genomes to characterize the genomic underpinnings of coffee domestication.

This exceptional research proposal showcases one of the many ways in which the length and accuracy of HiFi sequencing can be used to tackle some of the most challenging and intriguing questions in the plant and animal sciences. 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.

Congratulations to our winners!

About the SMRT Grant program

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

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

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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