State-of-the art genomic sequencer accelerates inflammation research

Hudson Institute of Medical Research is progressing its genomic and inflammation research thanks to the support of the Victorian Government and The Ian Potter Foundation, who assisted with the acquisition of an Illumina NextSeq2000, a new sequencing system that provides unprecedented genomic capacity to study inflammatory diseases and microbial diversity.

Dr Sam Forster and Professor Elizabeth Hartland testing the genomic sequencer at Hudson Institute of Medical Research
L–R: Dr Sam Forster and Professor Elizabeth Hartland

The machine is only the third of its kind in Victoria, and the first in the Monash precinct. It will be located in the Gandel Genomics Centre at Hudson Institute, where it will be used by scientists to accelerate critical inflammation research by supporting both single-cell and complex tissue gene expression studies, whole-exome sequencing to identify genetic variants and microbiome metagenomics in patients with chronic and debilitating inflammatory diseases.

Dr Sam Forster leads the Microbiota and Systems Biology Laboratory at Hudson Institute – his team is developing new treatments for inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), by targeting health-associated bacteria in the microbiome.

“In terms of capacity, the NextSeq2000 has supercharged our ability to understand how the microbiome can be used to prevent or treat inflammation. We can now measure a patient’s inflammatory response with much higher precision, discover and sequence twice as many new bacterial species in the same amount of time as before, at about the third of the cost. It really does allow us to take the research to the next level,” Dr Forster said.

The Illumina NextSeq2000 was partially funded through the Victorian Government’s investment to accelerate the Business Case for a National Centre for Inflammation Research (NCIR), and The Ian Potter Foundation.

In 2020, the Hon Jaala Pulford, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy announced $1 million in funding for planning and development of the NCIR at Hudson Institute.

This state-of-the art centre will be the first of its kind in Australia and house the nation’s largest group of inflammation researchers, at Hudson Institute.

Director and CEO Professor Elizabeth Hartland said, “The Victorian Government’s investment in the NextSeq2000 for Hudson Institute will allow us to accelerate our microbiome research so Victorian patients with inflammatory conditions, like IBD, can be helped sooner rather than later.

“We are grateful to the Victorian Government for showing their commitment to our vision for a National Centre for Inflammation Research, which will address critical medical need by translating inflammation research discoveries into new life-saving therapies and interventions.”

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