2015.5.13 Nucleic Acid Diagnostics Biotechnologies based on Hybridization
Title: Nucleic Acid Diagnostics Biotechnologies based on Hybridization
Speaker： Dr. David Yu Zhang
Ted Law Jr. Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Rice University
Time： 1:00pm May 13th 2015
Address： Rm 101, East wing of Old Chemistry Building, Peking Unversity
Chair： Prof. Huaiqiu Zhu, Center for Quantitative Biology
Nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) are being increasingly appreciated as biomarkers with diagnostic value, based on rapid development of nucleic acid biotechnology over the past 20 years. Nucleic acid diagnostics is now a $5B per year industry, with primary applications in cancer and infectious diseases. There are 4 major metrics for nucleic acid diagnostics: specificity, sensitivity, multiplexing, and speed; current technologies possess strengths and weaknesses in different areas. At its heart, all nucleic acid biotechnology depends on the reliable Watson-Crick hybridization, be it for PCR primer binding or microarray capture or NGS sequencing-by-synthesis; by improving hybridization properties, we can thus improve all of nucleic acid diagnostic biotechnology.
Our research group specializes in using molecular competition to suppress unintended interactions between nucleic acids. Today, I will talk about our recent progress in developing novel DNA probes and primers, and their use for scientific and technological applications. For PCR-based analysis, we have developed fluorescent probes capable of detecting 0.1% variant allele frequency, selective primers that achieve 20 cycle ∆Cq in discriminating single nucleotide variants from human genomic DNA. For NGS enrichment, we are developing capture probes with tunable yield allowing uniform capture yield of target sequences with GC content between 0% and 100%. We are also interested in better understanding the basic biophysics of nucleic acids, and have developed new methods to accurately measure DNA motif thermodynamics and hybridization kinetics with unparalleled accuracy at a fraction of typical costs. Leveraging these advances, we have started using these molecular tools for as biotechnology tools in collaboration with a number of companies.