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Overcoming the evils of fixation and storage: Getting the most out of your FFPE samples

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Overcoming the evils of fixation and storage: Getting the most out of your FFPE samples

Recorded 11 October 2017


The vast majority of clinical samples are still archived using a decades-old technique of fixation with formaldehyde and embedding in paraffin wax to generate so-called formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue blocks. This process of fixation and embedding, as well as long-term storage, can result in severe degradation of nucleic acids in the tissue. The fixation process itself causes cross-linkage between nucleic acids and proteins, as well as covalent modification of nucleic acids by monomethylol (-CH2OH) addition to the bases. Millions of FFPE blocks form the foundation of many tissue archives worldwide, and are essential to clinical research for exploring disease pathways and developing novel therapies. The inherent challenges of obtaining useable nucleic acids from difficult sample types such as these can be overcome by using the latest technologies and procedures to provide meaningful results throughout the next-generation sequencing workflow, from initial extraction of DNA/RNA to sample quantification, sample quality control, and library preparation.

During this webinar, our experts will:

  • Describe the types of degradation challenges found with FFPE samples
  • Introduce the range of technologies available to mitigate FFPE nucleic-acid damage
  • Present recent data using difficult and degraded tissue samples in cancer research
  • Answer your questions live during the broadcast!

This webinar will last for approximately 60 minutes

Speaker bios

Manu Gupta, Ph.D.

Abingdon, U.K.

Dr. Gupta is a genomics expert currently working as a principal scientist at GeneFirst (UK). His interests are in the development and application of genomic technologies and molecular diagnostics. At GeneFirst, he is developing a novel library preparation method for bidirectional sequencing for diagnostic applications. Previously, he worked in sarcoma genetics at University College London Cancer Institute and was involved in Genomics England’s 100,000 Genomes Project. He also has been an entrepreneur and founded his own clinical molecular diagnostic startup, focusing mainly on oncology. He has worked in the field of cardiovascular genetics at Royal Brompton Hospital/Imperial College London, in leukemia genomics at Queen Mary University of London, and in technology development at Uppsala University, Uppsala Sweden. He holds a Ph.D. in immunogenetics from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

Joe (Zhihong) Zhang, Ph.D.

Burning Rock Dx
Shanghai, China

Dr. Zhang graduated from Duke University in 2005 before completing his postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2008. He then joined Illumina R&D in San Diego, participating in multiple microarray and sequencing-consumables development activities. As a team leader, he developed and launched dual-indexed Illumina library prep and sequencing products. He also led or contributed to the launch of several TruSeq and Infinium products for Illumina. In 2016, he joined BurningRock Dx, a leading Chinese startup company focused on cancer diagnostics. As chief technology officer, he has directed the company’s R&D team in implementing next-generation sequencing technology in translational medicine and further developing in vitro diagnostic products.

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently Dr. Sanders is the Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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