Department of Genetics

Texas Biomed’s Department of Genetics works to advance human health through basic biomedical research with human and animal populations, specifically by characterizing the genetic components of susceptibility to common diseases of public health importance, and understanding the impact of genetic variation on cell and organ function.

Once the individual genes influencing a given disease are known, and the mechanism(s) by which normal cell function is altered with disease, this genetic information can be used in drug development efforts to find more effective cures or improved methods of disease prevention . The information can also be used to implement available interventions for those individuals at high risk of developing disease.

Technical Capabilities

The Department of Genetics has established state-of-the-art research support facilities that provide outstanding technical expertise and infrastructure in the areas of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, clinical chemistry and computational analyses including quantitative genetics, statistical genetics and bioinformatics .

  • Genomics (Dr. Laura Cox)

    The Department of Genetics maintains a number of state-of-the-art Next Generation Sequencing instruments to support a wide array of genomic applications, including whole genome and exome sequencing, RNA-Seq, small RNA-Seq, methylation analysis, and other sequencing-based applications. In addition to Next Gen sequencing instrumentation, the Department also operates traditional Sanger sequencers for targeted sequencing, a variety of genotyping platforms (Illumina iScan System, Sequenom MassArray), and array-based expression and methylation profiling instruments. Based on the existing expertise in the Department, study design, sample prep and analysis support can be provided to any investigator, including non-human primate comparative genomics.

  • Proteomics (Dr. Michael Olivier)

    Two LC-coupled ion trap mass spectrometers dedicated to the analysis of proteins are available in the Department. The Thermo Orbitrap Elite and the Thermo Orbitrap Fusion Lumos instruments have been used for a wide variety of ongoing projects, including the work of the NHGRI-supported Center of Excellence in Genomics Science and various projects using both human and non-human primate tissues and cells. Analysis tools for quantitative analysis of complex biological samples, including isotopic labeling and tagging approaches, have successfully been implemented to facilitate the effective analysis of biological samples for the identification and quantification of proteins and their posttranslational modifications.

  • Metabolomics (Dr. Michael Olivier)

    The Department has established a gas chromatography-based mass spectrometry platform for the effective and cost-efficient analysis of small metabolites from tissues, blood or breath samples. The instrumentation has been used for a wide range of disease-related analyses, and allows the quantification of both known and unknown metabolites from small samples.

  • Computational Analyses (Drs. Jack Kent and Anthony Comuzzie)

    In the past decade, the Department of Genetics has been on the forefront of disease-related genetic analyses for a wide range of studies  and disorders. To support these efforts, Texas Biomed established the AT&T Genomics Computing Center in 2005 to provide the necessary computational infrastructure to support these complex analyses. The computing cluster includes more than 7,000 processors to support state-of-the-art integrated genetic analyses on clinical and molecular phenotypes. Experienced analysts with extensive experience in data analysis in both human and non-human primate cohorts continue to support the effective and integrated analysis of genomic, proteomic, metabolomic, and clinical data.

  • Clinical Chemistry (Dr. Anthony Comuzzie)

    A key component for studies examining the development and progression of diseases in human or non-human primates is the routine processing of samples collected from study participants, and the effective analysis of standard clinical assays to measure clinically relevant biomolecules. In close collaboration with the Southwest National Primate Research Center, the Department has established the necessary laboratory protocols and instrumentation to allow an effective sample processing and analysis for a wide range of metabolism-related parameters such as serum and plasma measures of glucose, insulin, lipids, and a wide range of hormones and other biomolecules.

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