Genome Sequencing Facility (GSF)


The Genome Sequencing Facility (GSF) at Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute at UT Health San Antonio utilizes state-of-the-art genomic platforms to generate high-quality genomic data and provides support with its analysis.

About the Facility

The GSF provides Illumina next-generation sequencing (NovaSeq, NextSeq, and MiSeq platforms), and 10X Genomics single-cell analysis, for researchers both inside and outside institutes, universities, and other academic institutions and companies. GSF offers two types of partnerships: research collaboration and fee-for-service. We strongly promote active collaboration on concrete and sustainable research activities that are of mutual benefit to GSF’s long-term success and our NGS users.

The Genome Sequencing Facility (GSF) was created in 2011 by Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (Greehey CCRI) in UT Health San Antonio, upon the approval from the Medical School Dean’s office, with the acquisition of an Illumina HiSeq 2000 system. The GSF was originally a service facility supported entirely by the Greehey CCRI, with a focused mission for the genomics of pediatric cancer research. Since then, It has rapidly become a heavily utilized and well-functioning unit, used by many members of Greehey CCRI, the UT Health Mays Cancer Center, (an NCI-designated Cancer Center, the only one in South Texas), UT Health San Antonio, and some other researchers in surrounding San Antonio institutions, including the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Brooke Army Medical Center and U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research. In addition, enabled by providing superior sequencing performance and fast project turn-around time, GSF has established a track record with wide user bases from outside researchers.

Since its inception, the GSF has been one of the most utilized and efficient core facilities at UTHSA. The number of users and submitted samples have continuously and rapidly increased annually. Due to increasing requests and demands for NGS applications to cancer research, the GSF was recruited as a new UT Health Cancer Center Shared Resource, as Next Generation Sequencing Shared Resources (NGSSR) in UT Health San Antonio 2014, supported by Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG P30: CA054174). The CCSG was successfully renewed in August 2020 for another 5 years, and the NGSSR was rated “Outstanding” by the study section.

In March 2016, Dr. Zhao Lai was awarded a $600,000 NIH Shared Instrument Grant (S10 grant 1S10OD021805-01) to purchase Illumina HiSeq 3000 to upgrade the sequencing platform. Illumina HiSeq 3000 has provided our NGS users the greater efficiency in terms of high-throughput, faster turn-around time, and cheaper cost. Since the upgrade of the instrument in 2016, the number of active users of the GSF has continued to grow rapidly. In May 2016, Dr. Yidong Chen was awarded a $3.7M CPRIT Core facility award (RP160732) to upgrade and expand NGS capacity, and further, accelerate the adoption of high-throughput technology in translational cancer genetics and epigenetics research at UTHSCSA and the South Texas region. Illumina NextSeq 500 was acquired by funding support of CPRIT in February 2017. The NextSeq 500 provides a fast-sequencing turnaround time for individual projects. In June 2021, Dr. Zhao Lai was awarded her second NIH Shared Instrument grant with $600,000 (S10 grant 1S10OD030311-01) to upgrade to Illumina NoveSeq 6000 system to significantly improve the GSF’s sequencing capacity. We are very grateful to NIH and CPRIT funding support to continue the GSF’s NGS journey in the new exciting direction.

The Genome Sequencing Facility (GSF) provides complete project consultation for optimal experimental design and setup. The GSF is also a research group with experience in customizing experiments and developing new protocols that leverage the latest advances in genomic technology.

We welcome opportunities to partner on many kinds of research projects regardless of size, both as scientific collaborations and on a fee-for-service basis. If you are considering next-generation sequencing for your research, please contact GSF director Dr. Zhao Lai for research collaboration or consultation on experimental design, pricing, and scheduling.

Contact us to discuss how we can help your research

Our Mission

The primary missions of the GSF are to:

  • Provide Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute, Mays Cancer Center, and University of Texas Health Science Center faculty access to high throughput next-generation sequencing technology and bioinformatics support, with a high-quality service & research and highly competitive and comparable price.
  • Support the development of genome-enabled research projects, scientific programs, and grant proposals.
  • Education and training on NGS-focused genomics approach for the future generations of scientists.

Publication Acknowledgement

The facility should be listed in the “Acknowledgements” section of any publication using data generated in the Genome Sequencing Facility as follows:

Data were generated in the Genome Sequencing Facility which is supported by UTHSCSA, NIH-NCI P30 CA054174 (Cancer Center at UTHSCSA), and NIH Shared Instrument grant 1S10OD030311-01 (S10 grant towards to NovaSeq 6000 sequencing system).

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Inquire About Our Services:

The Genome Sequencing Facility Provides genomic service of Illumina next-generation sequencing and single-cell analysis using 10X Genomics for researchers, both inside and outside of UT Health San Antonio, other academic institutions, and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Zhao Lai, PhD
Director, Genome Sequencing Facility
Greehey CCRI
UT Health San Antonio
8403 Floyd Curl Dr.
San Antonio, TX, 78229, USA
Office: GCCRI 4.100.14
Phone: (210) 562-9246