The MultiSeq project receives funding from the ERC to optimise sequencing and explore market potential

05 May 2023

The laboratory led by Dr. Toni Gabaldón at IRB Barcelona and the BSC is exploring an innovative solution that minimises the time and cost of sequencing.

The MultiSeq project has received an ERC Proof of Concept grant endowed with €150,000, for a period of 18 months.

Sequencing is a technique that allows the order of the components (or nucleotides) of DNA or RNA to be determined. Advances in sequencing approaches in recent years have transformed biology and medicine. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is currently widely used in a variety of research fields, from the clinical setting to the biotech industry.

Technical breakthroughs have exponentially increased the number of samples that can be sequenced in each operation. However, the preparation of sequencing libraries—a critical step in NGS—has changed very little and continues to be the main limiting factor from the perspective of both cost and time required.

Researchers from IRB Barcelona and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS) led by Dr. Toni Gabaldón have developed a new solution that minimises the cost and time needed to prepare these libraries. Through a combination of computational analysis and small modifications in the laboratory protocol, the MultiSeq project allows the design of a strategy to sequence multiple samples in parallel (multiplexing), thereby reducing the number of libraries and without affecting the quantity or quality of the sequences produced. This technique was developed in the context of an ERC Consolidator project in collaboration with Dr. Hrant Hovhannisyan, a postdoctoral researcher at the BSC.

The research team has now received €150,000 through an ERC Consolidator Grant to explore the market potential of the MultiSeq technique. Over the next three years, the technique will be tested in different environments, market analyses will be carried out, and marketing options will be evaluated.

“If everything goes as planned, MultiSeq will bring about a major innovation in the field of sequencing by reducing its cost and thus contributing to its general accessibility and benefiting the scientific community and society at large,” says Dr. Gabaldon, ICREA researcher and head of the Comparative Genomics laboratory, a joint IRB Barcelona-BSC group.