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Mendelspod Interview with Mike Hunkapiller, CEO of Pacific Biosciences

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mike Hunkapiller was interviewed for a podcast recently
on Mendelspod. In it, Mike and Mendelspod host Theral Timpson chat about the
current sequencing technology landscape, clinical applications of sequencing, and
Mike’s goals as the head of PacBio.  


 

Here are a few highlights from the interview:
On the need for de novo sequencing of microbes rather
than relying on reference assemblies: “[Their] genomes are evolving so fast
because they can pick up genes from other organisms really easily — you almost
by definition don’t have good references.”
On SMRT® Sequencing accuracy: “We have the
highest accuracy in the field, but we get there in a different way than the
other players do. We actually can exceed the accuracy you could get with the
Sanger technology.”
On the evolution from short-read to long-read sequencing:
“With longer reads it’s much easier to know that you’re putting the pieces
together correctly.”
On priorities when Mike became CEO at PacBio: “You get a
lot of interest in [new] technology early on from people who are willing to
deal with a technology in its infancy — knowing that it’s going to have bugs,
limitations, things that weren’t quite done right when you put your first
models out. One of the things that I wanted to focus on when I came on board as
the CEO was making sure that we took all those people who had bet on the
technology early on and make sure that they were being successful — and getting
as quickly as we could over the hump of getting a new technology perfected
enough out there in order to make it useful for them.”
Listen to the full podcast
(audio or video).

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