To accelerate biomedical research in Luxembourg, LIH and the “Laboratoire national de santé” (LNS) teamed up to create LuxGen, a national sequencing centre. The two institutions signed a collaboration agreement in January 2018. LuxGen will be equipped with state-of-the-art instruments for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and comprise satellite laboratories for the preparation of sequencing libraries in one central location.
With the creation of LuxGen, a new technological platform will be available for Luxembourg’s life sciences research community, enabling DNA and RNA sequencing with NGS technology. The sequencing centre will be co-headed by Dr Gunnar Dittmar (LIH) and Dr Daniel Stieber (LNS), under the joint responsibility of Dr Ulf Nehrbass, CEO of LIH, and Prof Friedrich Mühlschlegel, Director of LNS. The next generation sequencing equipment will be hosted in the rooms of the Department of Genetics in the brand-new building of the LNS in Dudelange. Processing of LIH’s research data will be done on the high-performance computing platform of the Proteome and Genome Research Unit.
‘Next generation sequencing is a driving force of current life science research’, tells Dr Dittmar. ‘To get new and highly performant equipment, which is very expensive, we needed to join forces between institutions to create a common platform. LuxGen will allow us to perform high-end sequencing to bring biomedical research to the next level in Luxembourg. Scientists will not need to send samples or conduct sequencing projects abroad anymore. Having a local platform will greatly facilitate their work and is also safer regarding data storage.’
Setting-up such a platform is a lengthy project. ‘Stakeholders met for the first time end of 2016 to discuss the project. Now, more than one year later, it is finally formalised’, states Dr Dittmar. ‘We are ready to procure the first equipment soon, which will allow the acquisition of RNA sequencing data in high-throughput.’ Once the platform is established, it can be used by researchers from both institutions and will subsequently be opened to externals users, e.g. from the University of Luxembourg and other research centres.