The Drown Lab has been awarded a two year grant to engage undergraduate researchers using new genomic technology to explore the Alaska soil microbiome. We’ll be traveling across the state and working with undergraduates using the latest Nanopore sequencing devices (MinIONs).
Devin is heading out to the Oxford Nanopore New York Community meeting this week to learn from the community as well as present on the Alaska MinION Hackathons. You can follow along with the action on Twitter below:
On August 20th, Biology and Wildlife graduate students and researchers traveled to UAF’s Toolik Field Station for an awakening taste of arctic atmosphere. Devin and I used this nine hour road trip north of Fairbanks for investigation…in the 68th degree.
Toolik provided an opportunity to use the MinION sequencing capabilities in the field and sample for microbes on the North Slope.
Soil sampling and DNA sequencing with the MinION was supplemented with an abundance of scarlet alpine bearberry (Arctostaphylos alpina) and characteristically Alaskan Arctic beauty.
Maddie, Anastasia, and Devin attended the 9th annual University of Alaska Biomedical Research Conference (UA-BRC). For the undergraduates, this was their first research conference and they presented their work using the MinION nanopore sequencer to explore genomics. As you can see below, they drew a crowd to their poster.
This two-day conference showcased biomedical and One Health related research from graduate students, undergraduate students, researchers, and faculty through-out Alaska in the form of oral presentations and poster sessions. There were two workshops about career issues relevant to undergraduate and graduate student training including internship opportunities, STEM student recruitment, networking, entrepreneurship/innovation, and employer expectations.
Thanks to the efforts of Ian Herriot who initiated the application to the Oxford Nanopore MinION Access programme (MAP), we have acquired access to a new nanopore sequencer (pictured above). The MinION at just 87 grams and half the size of an iPhone is so portable that it will visit the International Space Station as a proof of concept in remote collection of DNA sequence data. Working in collaboration with the IAB DNA Core Lab, the Drown lab will begin experimenting with this technology in the near future and expand access to potential undergraduate researchers in Spring 2016. This device can provide opportunities for student researchers to generate their own low cost DNA sequence data (as little as $500 / experiment).