29 April 2011
Posted in DNA Day
Dr. W. Richard McCombie is a Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. He is an acknowledged leader and innovator in the development and application of genome sequencing technologies. Dr. McCombie received his B.A. in Biology from Wabash College, his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Microbiology Department of the University of Texas (Austin). He worked in the area of yeast gene expression at Phillips Petroleum, and was a Senior Staff Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, where he was the leader of one of the first groups to carry out large-scale automated sequencing of genomic DNA and helped to organize the first large-scale EST (expressed sequence tag) sequencing project.
As director of CSHL’s Lita Annenberg Hazen Genome Sequencing Center, he led the effort to perform high-throughput sequencing of several organisms, including the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the fission yeast S. pombe, and homo sapiens.
Dr. McCombie and colleagues are currently applying Next Generation sequencing technology to determine variation in the genomes, transcriptomes and epigenomes of animals and plants. His team has introduced software for the Next Generation sequencing instruments that promise to generate upwards of 600 billion bases of raw sequence data per run. These sequencers are devoted to a task called resequencing, which aims to find important points of sequence variation among individuals. This information can be marshalled in the search for causation in complex diseases ranging from cancer to neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and autism.
When not busy reading genome sequences, Dr. McCombie turns to science fiction for entertainment.