This spring, leading life science experts from 26 countries gathered at PacBio organized events to discuss exciting developments in HiFi sequencing technology, explore new genomic applications, and foster human connections to drive scientific endeavors forward. Building on the recent opening of PacBio’s new London office, the Discoveries Roadshow event series launched as an international tour across Europe and North America to connect experts and dive into new genomic frontiers made possible with HiFi sequencing.
Built to connect
“It’s nice to interact with people not only from academia but from industry and hear about other experts applying the same technology but for whole other research questions or applications.” – Rocio Castellanos Rueda, ETH Zürich
Instead of hosting a large, combined event requiring thousands of people to travel great distances to gather in one location, the Discoveries Roadshow was crafted as a series of 20 intimate events. Scientific leaders gathered in cities in North America and Europe to effectively engage in the consideration, exchange, and excitement of innovative biological ideas powered by HiFi sequencing. After a two-year hiatus caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Roadshow events reignited the face-to-face connections that are vital to collaborative research.
Electrifying developments ready to discover
“Even if you think you know the [advantages] of PacBio sequencing you will find it has a lot more benefits than [you] initially thought.” -Patricia Vives Garcia, Cultek
Spanning from venues near PacBio’s offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and London –to Barcelona, Munich, New York, Seattle, and beyond, attendees representing organizations as varied as the University of Oxford, Broad Institute, and Stanford University focused on fascinating talks to highlight new technical developments in HiFi sequencing.
- 5mC methylation detection now available with HiFi runs on the Sequel IIe system
In exciting talks by PacBio scientists Aaron Wenger, Sarah Kingan (@drsarahdoom), and others, researchers explored how 5-base HiFi sequencing can be used to study the epigenetics of humans and other organisms without the need for bisulfite treatment or any other special library preparation.
- Optimized engineering of CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T cells for cancer therapy
Participants learned how targeted HiFi sequencing can be used in combination with single-cell RNA sequencing to identify functional CARs with signalling domain combinations that have potential therapeutic value in programming T cells to fight cancer with Rocío Castellanos Rueda, ETH Zurich.
- The bumble bee sequenced to reference quality
Wilfried Haerty (@WHaerty) of the Earlham Institute demonstrated how his group’s work had been transformed as they were able to “assemble new genomes of very high quality [which] we were not able to do so before” using the extent and quality of HiFi sequencing. The talk went on to highlight how, in partnership with the Natural History Museum, HiFi reads were used to traverse highly repetitive genomic regions to generate a new genome assembly for the bumble bee, an important pollinator across the northern hemisphere.
New possibilities poised to inspire
“It is really great, you never know what tweaks and hacks you will find to make your own workflows better.” -Tom Turner, Anthony Nolan Research Institute
The Discoveries Roadshow featured institutions and research areas curated to spark new insights and highlight the wide range of biological problems that can be solved with the length and accuracy of HiFi reads. By bringing together researchers with fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and promising collaborations from around the globe, the Roadshow fostered captivating talks covering everything from new methodologies to innovative applications.
Some of the most inspiring discussions included insights into how to:
- Explore 15x more single-cell isoforms with the new MAS Iso-Seq protocol
Audience members in Cambridge, Raleigh, and Bethesda got a sneak-peek at this exciting new procedure, developed by Aziz Al’ Khafaji, (@AzizAlkhafaji) and colleagues at the Broad Institute, which enables investigators to recover up to 15x more single-cell isoforms from HiFi RNA sequencing runs. MAS Iso-Seq kits are projected to be available Q4 ‘22.
- Uncover complex tumor biology with HiFi sequencing
PacBio scientist Jonathan Bibliowicz showed participants how the incredible length and accuracy of HiFi reads can be used to unveil the mechanisms behind tumorigenesis: from hard-to-detect mutations to alternative RNA splicing and fusion events.
- Potentially Improved cancer risk detection and genetic counseling with targeted HiFi sequencing
Alexander Hoischen (@ahoischen) of Radboud University showed visitors a glimpse of how sequencing can be used to help identify elusive genomic variations in high-risk cancer-predisposing genes and potentially improve the counseling and surveillance of affected individuals.
More thought-provoking events and streaming content to come
“It was a very interesting day to exchange with people, to initiate collaborations, to learn, and to improve our own research.” – Stéphanie Tomé, French National Institute of Health
While the 2022 Roadshow itself is over, we know your scientific discoveries continue. Explore the exciting HiFi sequencing innovations and inspiring genomic revelations found in over 35 recorded presentations available on-demand soon. Sign up to be notified when the talks go live (check the “Events” box under “Email Preferences”) and keep an eye on your inbox for a link to the Video Hub in our upcoming Event Roundup emails.
The pursuit of connection, inspiration and discovery is ongoing, and this is just the beginning. We are constantly engaging and exchanging ideas with the global scientific community to ensure that we continue to facilitate and inspire groundbreaking discoveries in genomics and human health.
We look forward to engaging with you at events like this and others – check out our events page and stay tuned for announcements on future roadshows.