CB 399: Next Generation Sequencing Technologies: Principles and Applications Fall 2010

Intellectual Unit:

Next Generation Sequencing Technologies:  Principles and Applications
Nanocourse Director: Fred Winston 
Curriculum Fellow: Leah S. Brault lbrault@genetics.med.harvard.edu
Lecturers: Chad Nusbaum (Broad Institute), Mark Daly (Broad Institute/HMS), Gabor Marth (Boston College)

Traditional capillary sequencing technology using base-specific chain termination by fluorescent di-deoxy nucleotides represents modifications to the original sequencing methodology devised by Sanger and colleagues in the 1970s.  Recent years have seen the development of next generation parallel sequencing technologies that are rapidly replacing older methodologies.  Sequencing by synthesis enables the simultaneous sequence analysis of millions of DNA templates at the same time, or in parallel.  These new approaches allow for DNA sequencing at a markedly faster pace, and often at a much cheaper price, making sequencing projects feasible for an ever-expanding number of researchers.  This nanocourse will explore the methodology and principles behind parallel sequencing technology, and how it measures up to traditional sequencing methods.  Examples of the numerous applications of this ever-evolving technology, as well as the limitations of parallel sequencing, will also be discussed.


First Session: Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Location: Goldenson 122
Second Session: Friday, October 22, 2010 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Location: TMEC Building, Room 333

Drop Deadline: Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Assignment:  Using the concepts learned during the lectures and your reading list as a guide, prepare a 1-2 page "mini-grant" proposal that will use new sequencing technology to tackle a problem in your area of scientific interest.  Please include the following components:


1.  An introduction to the problem you are trying to solve and a description of how new sequencing technology will help address it.

2.  A description of which technology you think is most appropriate to use and why.

3.  A description of what you hope to learn and what its impact will be.

4.  A conclusion briefly describing the vision for your work beyond the scope of the proposal (ie. “future directions” based upon the results you hope to obtain from your experiments).



  • Please provide a brief (100-150 word) synopsis of the question you would like to answer with next-gen sequencing technologies by 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 20th.  Please e-mail these assignments to the Curriculum Fellow at lbrault@genetics.med.harvard.edu.
  • Completed mini-grant assignments are due at the start of the second session at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, October 22nd. 

The discussion session will include a more in-depth discussion of practical applications of next generation sequencing technology, including experimental design, costs, limitations, and benefits.  Your proposals will be used as a launching point for the discussion; several proposals will be selected at random to be discussed, so please be prepared to talk about what you have written!