Monday, October 12, 2020

10X Triples Down on Spatial Analysis

10X Genomics last week announced the purchase of ReadCoor, a company that unveiled its 3D spatial sequencing instrument back at AGBT, paying $350M to acquire the Cambridge MA company.  This follows quickly on the heels of 10X purchasing Swedish in situ sequencing company CartaNA for another $41M.  10X already had the Visium spatial transcriptomics product on the market.  So now 10X has three different technologies in the spatial profiling space.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Keeping an Index on a Subtle Difference in Illumina Chemistries

I like to pretend in this space that I catch all the little details of the different sequencing platforms.  Well, at least over time I try to do that.  But ego aside, that is often a mark not made.  A bit of a year ago I discovered that there's a small difference across the Illumina family that is completely separate from how clusters are generated (Bridge Amplification randomly arrayed or Exclusion Amplification in nanowells) or the wavelengths of light used in the fluorescence microscopy (now blue on the newest NextSeqs, with superresolution microscopy coming soon)  or 4 color vs. 2 color vs. 1-color (well, really staged 2-color) chemistry for the reversible terminators.  There's a subtle difference in how the second index is read.  I'm not spilling a deep secret: it's right out in plain sight within an Illumina technical document

Monday, August 31, 2020

Self-Assessing My Python

I've been programming 90+% in Python now for over a year and a half -- when I joined the Strain Factory I vowed to finally make the break from Perl.  Partly this was disgust with so often finding libraries I wanted to be missing or broken, and partly it was recognizing that the Factory is primarily a Python shop and I would have the most impact if I worked in the lingua franca. I was first exposed to Python back at Codon Devices, but there was a strong C# faction there and I fell in love with that language, so my primary dabbling in Python was learning enough to glue the key Python code into my C# with IronPython.  I strongly considered changing over at the start of Warp Drive, but gave it too weak a try and quickly started churning out Perl.  I still use that language for basic level text munging, but have avoided writing nearly anything that occupies more than one screen.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Two Pandemic-Related Programming Problems

I will offer here two bioinformatics programming problems which I think are interesting, useful and should be approachable by an advanced undergraduate.  For a variety of reasons I've been thinking a lot of about skill levels and how to assess them.  One key reason is we have two open slots in our group, so I'm plowing through CVs and engaging in the usual hiring funnel struggle -- how do you winnow CVs to phone screens and then down to interviews? We also thought we might, but now won't, bring on a one year intern.  But I'm also trying to take a look at my own skill set with a critical eye.  Plus I maintain a Quora addiction, and you see there people looking for ways to prove their computational biology chops.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Virtual London Calling, Veritably Late, Part II: Platform Development

Last time, I covered Oxford Nanopore LamPORE COVID-19 detection scheme.  London Calling was over a week ago, so the chance to scribble before its all old news is rapidly shrinking.  As noted yesterday, Clive Brown didn't speak here but instead will broadcast at some future date; it was left to his top technical lieutenants to cover the developments in the platform which have happened since the Community Meeting in New York back in early December.  I've tried to hit the highlights here, but don't claim to be comprehensive.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Virtual London Calling, Veritably Late Copy: Part I, LamPORE

London Calling was last week, held online due to the pandemic.  My plans to attend in person were one of a myriad of travel arrangements upended by the calamity, though that is utterly trivial in comparison to the tragedy of so many lost lives, damaged survivors and economic ruin.  Attending remotely also made it harder to ignore my work duties, which are at a crescendo (well, not really: it's been this intense for months).  But all the talks are available online, so I have stolen some time to review the Oxford Nanopore technology announcements.  There wasn't a Clive Brown talk; apparently he will deliver a broadcast later this summer to tease us with more crazy ideas emerging from the ONT Skunk Works.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Roche Expands Sequencing Nanopore Presence by Acquiring Stratos Genomics

Ugh.  I let the month of April slip away without writing and now have almost let May do the same.  But some leftover euphoria from a huge experimental breakthrough on our current diagnostics project at the Gene Factory plus the feeling I shouldn't let news tied into an earlier post slip off, and here I am.  When I wrote about sequencer startups back in February based on their websites, I put Stratos Genomics near the front of the pack.  Roche Molecular apparently agrees, announcing a week ago that they are acquiring Stratos.