Lab Profile: uBiome, microbiome sequencing made easy

March 19, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Stories |

Recently I talked with uBiome, a Science Exchange laboratory that specializes in microbiome sequencing. What makes them spectacular is more than just their sequencing services. It’s their unique perspective on science, the microbiome, and the cycle of research. There are tons of amazing facets to uBiome, but to name a couple:

  • They are the largest crowdfunded citizen science project to date – they raised more than $350,000 on indiegogo.
  • They have a fully automated, scalable robotic next-generation sequencing pipeline that can handle 10,000 samples as easily as 10 samples.

uBiome was founded by Jessica Richman and Zac Apte, who came together to start something different – a place where researchers can work with citizen scientists to create a game-changing dataset of microbial information.

According to Jessica, “We are excited about the process of collaborative citizen science around the microbiome. The idea is to involve the public, ask questions, and include the public in the researcher’s process.”

It’s this approach that helped them amass the largest dataset of human microbiome info. As a result, they can offer something unique to researchers, the chance to compare participants’ data to each other.

“If you’re studying anything, from heart disease to autism, we can sample and sequence your participants and compare them to our dataset. If researchers are sampling something that’s not one of our existing sites, we can still sequence anything they’re interested in – feet, noses, worms, animals, environmental samples, anything that has bacteria on it. We can run those through our pipeline and give data back about what’s in them,” said Jessica Richman.

They make the process as simple as possible for the researcher. They can be hands on and take care of sample collection, participant surveys, and sequencing. Or they can leave the details to the researchers and simply sequence the samples in their lab. In addition, researchers can compare their samples with groups of interest in the uBiome dataset.

uBiome is making is making microbiome sequencing easier than ever. Check out their services on Science Exchange.

Read the rest of this entry »

Small Biotech Stories: Eos Neuroscience

November 26, 2013 | Posted by Brianne Villano in Small Biotech Stories |

Eos Neuroscience is a company built on collaboration, featuring a unique team with expertise in transgenes, virology and gene expression, and retinal degeneration. Once they complete their preclinical stage, their intended userbase would be those with blindness attributed to photoreceptor degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration.

They are running into some problems in the process of preclinical research, however. Alan Horsager, Co-Founder and CSO, describes his experience, “As a whole, biotech needs to deeply reevaluate the process, all the way from discovery to market. It’s so arduous that so few impactful drugs make it to market. There are certain gene therapies making it through, but the path is not easy at all. We say ’20 years and $200 million.'”

In light of difficulties and the expense of developing technologies, companies like Alan’s are trying to find ways to do things more efficiently, and their team is so unique that it’s difficult to recreate that collaboration. So rather than trying to clone themselves, they’re on Science Exchange.

“Science Exchange provides the opportunity to bring experts together toward a common goal, a network of distributed team members.” says Alan. “You can’t have an organization that has all the people and equipment that you need. You need expertise in different areas and Science Exchange provides a central location where you can go to get the experts.”

If your business encompasses multiple research areas, it is often difficult to access all the equipment and researchers you need in house. Eos does a wide range of research including vector development, qPCR, and gene expression, but in varying degrees and not constantly. So having the ability to do all that in house when you’re not doing the research full-time doesn’t make much sense.

Alan elaborated, “You can hire a postdoc for $70K per year, and theoretically they do more than a PCR assay, but if they don’t do it right it takes extra time and there’s a lot of training involved. If you’re only doing a couple of different assays, it’s probably better to hire someone and do it internally. But if you’re doing a lot of different assays, it’s better to seek external experts because it’s a fraction of the cost.”

We have actually found that researchers can save up to 46% on various experiments like immunohistochemistry (IHC), cloning, and sequencing, so Alan is absolutely right. Any product that enables you to order services from scientific experts across the world at significant discounts is worth a second look.

About Eos Neuroscience:
Eos has designed and managed clinical programs in gene therapy and the eye and has been involved in all aspects of primary research including transgenes, virology and gene expression, and retinal degeneration. Their worldwide core of experts has expertise covering basic research through clinical/regulatory.

About the author

    Brianne is dedicated to customer support and development for Science Exchange. She     is a formally trained biologist with a M.S. in Biotechnology whose past experience at           Charles River Laboratories sparked a flame for building client relationships.

 

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