School Seminar: Professor David Deamer, University of California Santa Cruz: “From academe to industry: Evolution of nanopore sequencing”
Host: Dr Yu Heng Lau [Map].
The idea that it might be possible to sequence nucleic acids by passing them through a nanoscopic pore was conceived 30 years ago. During that time, the concept grew from a sketch in a notebook to a company now valued at $1.5 billion dollars. The company is Oxford Nanopore Technologies, and they are now marketing multiple instruments ranging from the $1000 MinION to the $250,000 PromethION. The history of nanopore sequencing has valuable information for anyone who is interested in developing their own ideas. In my talk I will present this history in the form of 12 lessons learned. These include the first tests of feasibility, patents and licensing, industrial development, patent infringement, theft of intellectual property and finally the emergence of nanopore analysis as a major challenge to the multi-billion dollar sequencing industry.
David Deamer is a Research Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Deamer received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Duke University in 1961, and PhD in Physiological Chemistry at the Ohio State University School of Medicine, 1965. Over his scientific career, Deamer has maintained a central focus on biological and synthetic membranes. In 1989, Deamer proposed the idea that it may be possible to sequence a DNA molecule by passing it through a nanoscopic pore embedded in a lipid bilayer membrane. Feasibility of this concept was demonstrated in 1996, and collaborative work with Mark Akeson at UC Santa Cruz reported proof of principle in 1999 when they reported that a nanopore could distinguish between sequences of adenine and cytosine in RNA. In 2014, Oxford Nanopore Technology developed and distributed the MinION device which utilizes nanopore sequencing concepts and patents developed by the Akeson and Deamer research groups.