Center News Magazine: Equipped for Discovery

By Eva Kiesler, PhD, Science Writer/Editor  |  Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Pictured: Agnès Viale & Adriana Heguy Agnès Viale (right), head of the Genomics Core Laboratory, with Adriana Heguy, head of the Geoffrey Beene Translational Oncology Core Facility.

A range of facilities provide expert services and technology to support cancer genomics studies at Memorial Sloan Kettering. The Genomics Core Laboratory, led by Agnès Viale, is a cutting-edge facility providing genome sequencing and analysis services — from experimental design and sample preparation to
data analysis and training.

The Geoffrey Beene Translational Oncology Core Facility provides research support with the goal of helping investigators capitalize on Memorial Sloan Kettering’s wealth of stored tumor samples and experience from clinical trials. “Among other things, we provide services to extract DNA or RNA from clinical samples, identify cancer-associated mutations or changes in gene expression in these samples, and correlate these changes with clinical data such as patient outcomes or treatment responses,” explains Adriana Heguy, who heads the facility.

The Bioinformatics Core Facility, led by Nicholas Socci, assists investigators in analyzing large-scale genomics data. In addition, the facility offers consultation, training, and custom programming, and administers Memorial Sloan Kettering’s high-performance research computing resources.

A comprehensive resource for research involving human tissue, the Pathology Core Facility provides instrumental support to Center investigators conducting genomic investigation of clinical samples. The core staff and pathologists provide a wide range of services — from sample acquisition and banking to tissue-based experimentation, analysis, and data interpretation. The facility is led by Marija Drobnjak and Victor E. Reuter.

The New York Genome Center (NYGC), which launched last year, is a collaboration of 11 New York–based biomedical institutions. Memorial Sloan Kettering is playing a key role in the development of the NYGC, which will be located in lower Manhattan. The NYGC will give scientists at Memorial Sloan Kettering and other institutions enhanced access to high-throughput genome sequencing services as well as computational and bioinformatics support.