¡°Reading¡± and ¡°Writing¡± Genomes

The Human Genome Project finished in 2003 was a milestone, but achieved at a cost of $3 billion. In the past few years, the innovation of next generation sequencing technology enabled us to read the nucleotide sequences of a personal genome at a price approaching $1000. At the same time, with the development of gene synthesis technology, the entire genome can be synthesized base-by-base. Our lab takes the advantage of the cutting edge gene technology to read and write genomes.

Immune repertoire sequencing is to read the millions of T cell and B cell receptors, and has great clinical application in human health. In our lab, we have the latest sequencing platforms such as Illumina Hiseq, Miseq, Roche 454 and Ion Torrent. Collaborating with BGI, we are initialing an international collaborate project ¡°The Human Immunome Project¡±. Together with data collected by other technology by Human Immunology Project Consortium (USA), we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of human immune response in diseases.

¡°Writing¡± genome is the goal of synthetic biology. In our lab, we rewrite the genome of E. coli and incorporate genes from other bacteria; the engineered E. coli can "eat" waste cook oil and other biomass and produce biodiesel.

In sum, with the interdisciplinary methods of physics, chemistry, statistics and biology, by ¡°reading¡± and ¡°writing¡± genomes, our lab work to improve human health and solve the energy problem.

 

The Human Immunome Project

The Human Immunome Project aims to sequence the immune repertoire of 10,000 patients and identify disease-specific T and B cell receptor profiles for 100 diseases. (read more..)
Recommended reading:Science 8 May 2009, Vol. 324 no. 5928 pp. 807-810
 

Variants and disease genes discovery by genome sequencing

Family-based whole genome sequencing is a powerful method to find the Mendelian disorder genes. Whole genome sequencing is transformational because of the data precision offered, the ability to detect rare variants, and the ability to delineate with precision parental haplotypes in the children. We expect it will become a next wave of gold rush in the coming few years. China has a large pool of patient samples, which provide us a unique opportunity to do large-scale studies on human variants and complex disease genes.
Recommend reading: Science 30 April 2010, Vol. 328 no. 5978 pp. 636-639

Synthetic Biology

Dr. He is mentoring two SUSTC teams in the iGEM competition. One project is to design a software that can calculate transcription terminator efficiency based on the free energy model. Another project aims to develop an iPhone App for the biobrick parts database search and biobrick design. See their wiki for details: http://2012.igem.org/Team:SUSTC-Shenzhen-A and http://2012.igem.org/Team:SUSTC-Shenzhen-B