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San Antonio Lab Hauls in $1.3M in Gifts for Illumina Sequencer, Compute Cluster

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - The Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research said yesterday that it will use two new philanthropic gifts -- including $1 million from the AT&T Foundation and $300,000 from the Elizabeth Huth Coates Charitable Foundation -- to expand its sequencing and informatics infrastructure. 
SFBR, based in San Antonio, Texas, said it will use the $1 million gift from the AT&T Foundation to double the computational capacity of its AT&T Genomics Computing Center from 1,500 processors to 3,000 processors.
“This leap in computing power makes our facility more than 2.5 times the size of that of any of our competitors around the globe,” John Blangero, director of SFBR’s computing center, said in a statement.
SFBR has used the $300,000 gift from the Coates Charitable Foundation to buy an Illumina 1G Genetic Analyzer, which it plans to use on sequencing projects aimed at determining genetic causes of complex diseases. SFBR said the new hardware will “dramatically accelerate” its search for disease-linked genes such as heart disease, diabetes, brain disorders, and cancer.
SFBR’s genetics chair, Sarah Williams-Blangero, said the new system will shorten the time needed to sequence samples and allow researchers to “undertake much larger investigations and examine much broader stretches of DNA than previously thought possible.”

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.