Texas A&M’s Genomics & Bioinformatics Service recently remodeled its entire sequencing facility in the Centeq Building located on Research Parkway in College Station.
The service is celebrating its ten year anniversary on Tuesday by hosting an open house at the building from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The open house will follow a genomics symposium from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the AgriLife Center that will include speakers from across the genomics and bioinformatics community.
The Genomics & Bioinformatics Service was established on the A&M campus in 2009. Since then, the service has been housed in a few different facilities off campus. As technology has advanced and the service has grown overall, an updated on-campus genomics facility was necessary, said Charlie Johnson, director of the Institute of Genomics and Bioinformatics and Class of 1988.
“We can now have better interaction with faculty and students, along with having all of our resources under one roof,” Johnson said. “AgriLife gave us a lot of freedom with the design of this new facility, so we have been able to create both a showplace and a comfortable and inviting workplace environment.”
The renovated facility includes a variety of bright visuals created by the AgriLife Marketing and Architecture teams, from patterned carpeting within the office spaces to the blue walls of the lab spaces. The canvas photographs along one corridor depict some of the major species the service has sequenced throughout its history, including Amazonian frogs, mosquitoes and even humans.
The sequencing laboratory has an open floor plan which allows for better interaction among the faculty, staff and research assistants, Johnson said. Upon entering the facility, campus members and visitors first glimpse the main conference room, which is behind a glass wall that overlooks a room containing their most advanced sequencing machines. This gives the overall impression of a showroom, Johnson said, as the service takes pride in showcasing its work.
“We have a lot of high schoolers and other visitors come to tour the facility, so this allows an open sharing space,” Johnson said. “It is different from what you would normally picture when you think of a lab: white walls and no color. But this new space has really created a fun work environment.”
The facility also includes a number of new sequencing machines and other genomics technology that is advancing both the quality and quantity of DNA sequences the service produces, Johnson said. The service is projecting a significant decrease in the total costs of genomics sequencing in the future thanks to the new technology available within their labs. Specifically, one of the new machines the service received on behalf of their partnership with PerkinElmer will allow their scientists to sequence DNA at 30 times the rate the service has historically sequenced at.
“Over the last ten years the lab has seen six major jumps in sequencing technology and capacity,” the service’s website said. “As of today, TxGen has the capacity to process over 100,000 samples per year and generate enough data to sequence over 18,000 human genomes at a cost well below most commercial and academic facilities.”
Preceding the grand opening event for the new facility, the symposium will have a number of A&M professors from the Agriculture & Life Sciences department speaking, as well as other genomics researchers. Scientists from the service's main partners, Illumina Inc. and PerkinElmer, will also be in attendance.
Panels will be hosted throughout the day on Tuesday, and all on campus are invited to attend. To account for seating, the service does encourage those wishing to attend to RSVP.
To RSVP and to learn more about the Genomics & Bioinformatics Service’s grand opening and symposium event, please visit