Home » Baskin Engineering News » UC Santa Cruz scientists Carol Greider and Daniel Kim to share innovative research using nanopore sequencing at London Calling 2024

UC Santa Cruz scientists Carol Greider and Daniel Kim to share innovative research using nanopore sequencing at London Calling 2024

Portrait of Carol Greider
Carol Greider, photo by Carolyn Lagattuta

London Calling, a conference showcasing the latest research in nanopore sequencing technology, celebrates its 10th anniversary in May and will feature UC Santa Cruz professor and Nobel Laureate Carol Greider and Assistant Professor Daniel Kim as plenary presenters.

Greider and Kim will speak on “Innovation Day” at London Calling, sharing their innovative applications of nanopore sequencing in the areas of research and diagnostics. Nanopore sequencing is a method for reading DNA or RNA that has enabled significant advances in genomics, and was developed here at UC Santa Cruz.

Greider will discuss her new breakthrough study on telomere length, which could have clinical relevance for preventing degenerative diseases. Greider is a distinguished professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology at UC Santa Cruz and has spent more than 30 years studying telomeres and telomerase. Telomeres act as protective caps at the end of chromosomes, preventing genetic material from tearing off during cell division. Telomerase helps to maintain telomere length by adding DNA sequences to ensure chromosome stability. 

Person in a white labe coat holding a nanopore sequencing device called the MinION
The MinION device, photo by Nick Gonzales

Using a handheld nanopore sequencing device called the MinION, Greider’s team discovered that telomere lengths, which were previously believed to hold the same general size range across the genome, actually vary dramatically from chromosome to chromosome, and that these chromosomal differences in length are consistent across individuals. They also identified genetic sequences that they believe could be involved in regulating telomere length. Because telomere length impacts human health, this research could lead to novel disease-prevention drugs. 

Portrait of Daniel Kim
Daniel Kim, photo by Carolyn Lagattuta

“In my opinion, this is the most important nanopore-based paper focused on human biology since the MinION was introduced,” said Mark Akeson, professor emeritus of biomolecular engineering at UC Santa Cruz. 

Kim is an Assistant Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at the UC Santa Cruz Baskin School of Engineering. His talk will highlight the importance of nanopore sequencing in his team’s development of a novel technology that significantly improves liquid biopsy tests for early cancer detection. Kim takes advantage of the MinION’s size and portability, which he said  “opens up the possibility to bring these diagnostic tests anywhere in the world.” Kim hopes to bring such tests into under-resourced and remote communities – expanding access to innovative diagnostic testing.

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