Provision of a MassArray Mass-spectrometry based multiplex genotyping platform (Agena Biosciences).

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Pharmacology & Therapeutics


Our genetics can predict our risk of disease and how we might respond drugs we are prescribed. Indeed, the application of genomics in to clinical practice within the NHS is happening at an ever quickening pace. The ability to develop and use data from panels of genetic variants in order to make treatment decisions is essential to this advancement. In order to do so we require genetic testing equipment that is capable of typing for multiple genetic variant on a number of individuals in a cost-effective manner.
We propose to purchase a mass-spectrometry based genotyping platform (MassArray, Agena Biosciences). This equipment is capable of typing up to 40 genetic variants in 96 patient samples in a single run. The equipment would be able to undertake this analysis in a far more time, resource and cost efficient way than existing technologies we have at our disposal. The proposed equipment will facilitate genetic analysis of samples from a range of human studies looking at disease risk and drug response across a diverse range of clinical areas. This includes studies in MRC priority areas such as infection and immunity and antimicrobial resistance.
The MassArray, has multiple capabilities enabling fast, automated genetic calling of samples. We will install it in Wolfson Centre for Personalised medicine at the University, an open access a large number from academia and industry users and collaborators. The equipment will serve a breadth of science across the MRC remit.

Technical Summary

We will install a new mass-spectrometry-based multiplex genotyping platform (MassArray) in the Wolfson centre for Personalised Medicine (WCPM), University of Liverpool, capable of cost-effective, medium-throughput (96-well) typing of panels of genetic variants
It will serve a range of clinical genetic projects within the MRC remit from the University of Liverpool. This investment and the proposed projects benefiting from the new instrument, directly address the MRC priorities: "applied global health research, infections and immunity, molecular and cellular medicine, neuroscience and mental health, and population and systems medicine cellular medicine".
Specifically, research groups will work on projects related to: 1) Experimental medicine (mitochondrial genetic predictors of drug-induced liver injury; genetic predictors of brain metastasis in breast cancer; and genetic factors influencing risk and progression of motor neurone disease; and genetic determinants of anti-HIV drug safety and efficacy). 2) Antimicrobial resistance (genetic predictors of anti-tuberculosis drug resistance and adverse reactions). 3) Health and biomedical data science (genetic influence of anti-infectious agents on drug pharmacokinetics in complex individuals). 4) Population and public health science (pharmacogenomics in multi-morbidity).
We will build strong foundations by fostering collaboration, generating knowledge transfer and training the next generation of scientists in state-of-the-art genotyping technology. The WCPM is ideally placed to offer an intensive and cost-effective usage of the equipment as it is a world-renowned pharmacogenomics research centre with an open-access facility and prior expertise in mass-spectrometric genotyping technology with a strong academic and technical support team for optimal exploitation of the quantitative data generated.


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