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LifeTech Awards Ion Torrent PGMs for Projects in Newborn Screening, Pathogen Testing

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This story was originally published Feb. 18.

Life Technologies last week announced two winners and three runners-up of the European Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine Sequencer Grants Program, all of whom will receive an Ion Torrent PGM to aid in their research proposals.

Angel Carracedo, director of the Galician Foundation of Genomic Medicine in Spain, won for his proposal to create a fast and affordable method to genetically screen research samples from newborns. Mark Pallen, professor of microbial genomics at the University of Birmingham, won for his proposal to identify, profile, and type healthcare-associated bacteria pathogens in hospital environments.

Carracedo said in a statement that genetic screening of newborns has been limited. "Our research will be focused on developing a newborn screening [method] based on Ion amplicon sequencing for cystic fibrosis, Wilson disease, Hurles-Scheie disease, and other congenital metabolic diseases," Carracedo said in a statement.

"The ability to deliver cheap same-day results is essential to enable timely interventions in outbreak management," Pallen said in a statement. Until now, he added, sequencing in an environmental microbiology setting has been limited by cost and the length of run times.

Life Technologies also named three runners-up who will receive PGMs. Thomas Curtis, professor of environmental engineering at Newcastle University, will use the machine to characterize waste-water treatment. Howard Martin, a clinical scientist at Cambridge University Hospitals and his team plan to study human leukocyte antigen. Ulf Landegren, professor of molecular medicine for the department of genetics and pathology at Uppsala University, won a machine for his proposal to run a multiplex proximity ligation assay, or MultiPLAy, to measure protein biomarkers in the blood by antibody-mediated reverse translation of proteins to DNA sequences.

"In all of the proposals we saw innovative, often potentially breakthrough applications," Ion Torrent's president, Jonathan Rothberg, said in a statement.

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