2015: A Look Back

People are starting to talk about their plans for New Year’s Eve, confirming a suspicion we’ve had for a while now: 2015 really is winding down! We can’t believe that 2016 is nearly upon us. As we try to remember the blur of the last 12 months, we’re taking stock of the highlights and trends that transpired. Here on the home front, the big news was how well our newest instrument, PippinHT, has done. Our customers have run tens of thousands of samples with PippinHT so far, and they show no signs of easing up.

Early this year, we put forth our theory that 2015 would be remembered as the year of long reads. With the momentum of Oxford Nanopore technology and the much-anticipated release of PacBio’s new Sequel System, it seems clear that long-read sequencing is no longer a niche approach. Numerous studies have shown that long-range DNA information is essential to building more accurate and complete genome assemblies, providing insight that isn’t available from other sequencing methods. Even researchers who haven’t switched to long-read sequencers are trying to incorporate long-range data into their studies; we’ve seen a lot more interest in mate-pair sequencing, as well as synthetic long-read technologies.

In 2015 we sponsored our first-ever podcasts with Mendelspod, and they’ve been a huge success. If you missed any of these great interviews with Bobby Sebra, Chris Mason, or Rod Wing, you should definitely spend your next commute tuning in. Mendelspod host Theral Timpson always does a good job of getting his interviewees to provide really interesting perspectives on trends in the industry.

As usual, the Sage Science team spent a good deal of time on the conference circuit this year. We loved getting to interact with friends, collaborators, and customers, and look forward to doing more of the same next year. You can catch our coverage of some of the big meetings here: ABRF, AGBT, ASHG, ASM, Festival of Genomics, and PAG. We also recapped our experience at the PacBio user group meetings here and here.

One of our favorite developments of the year was the publication of some great new protocols involving Pippin automated DNA size selection instruments from our customers. We particularly liked new mate-pair sequencing protocols (here and here), and this video protocol for methylation mapping.

Of course, Sage customers publish a lot more than protocols. There were too many terrific papers to list here, but if you have time for only a few, here’s what we recommend:

A better approach to microRNA biomarker discovery
A diploid human genome assembly
Targeted capture and sequencing of human structural variation

We even got to spend some time profiling a few of our customers this year. Many thanks again to our customers for taking the time, and we hope you enjoy these glimpses of their impressive work:

Amanda Chilaka, Whitehead Institute
Darren Heavens, The Genome Analysis Centre
Alex Maslov, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

And that’s a wrap for 2015! From everyone at Sage, we wish you a wonderful holiday season, and a happy and healthy new year.

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