Revolutionizing Human Healthcare with Next-Generation Metagenome Sequencing

Dr. Maike Seifert, Head of unit at Karolinska Institute emphasized the potential transformative impact of next-generation metagenome sequencing on human healthcare. Her team’s work develops crucial biobanking resources and implements advanced genomic technologies for both clinical practice and drug development.

  • Comprehensive microbiome research and biobank development:
    Dr. Seifert discusses the establishment of the Center for Translational Microbiome Research at the Karolinska Institute to understand the microbiome’s influence on health and disease. The center has built a significant biobank of over 200,000 human samples, providing a rich resource for developing novel therapies in the fields of gastroenterology, reproductive health, and cancer.
  • Advancement in metagenome sequencing technology:
    In response to the clear limitations of 16S sequencing for population studies, the center pivoted to more advanced sequencing techniques. This includes utilizing extensive automation of their internal processes.
  • Metagenomic method development and clinical applications:
    Dr. Seifert’s team has standardized their metagenome sequencing processes across a range of sample types and developed new protocols that lower the minimum input requirements and enhances sensitivity through host DNA depletion. They have recently launched a major project called SweMaMi, aimed at the early detection of pregnancy-related complications through simple microbial assessment, underscoring the practical medical applications of their research.

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