*** This post was written by Dr. Anja Brunner, science writer (Science Inbound)
Interview with Cristina Gamba, Global Product Manager at Samplix ApS
Cristina Gamba is a young, highly experienced and talented scientist. Her career has taken her from Italy to Spain, Ireland, and Denmark, so she feels right at home as part of the international team at Samplix, the company behind a new long sequence enrichment method called Xdrop™.
As Global Product Manager, Cristina works at the intercept of R&D, application, marketing and commercial operations. With insights into every aspect of what she calls a “pluripotent technology”, her mission is to boost awareness of Xdrop™.
We caught up with Cristina to talk about a special campaign she and colleagues have launched – a grant program to let researchers try Xdrop™ free of risk.
FLG: You have worked with cutting-edge technologies to sequence very difficult samples, like ancient and forensic specimens. What drew your attention to Xdrop™?
In my view, Samplix has taken a novel approach to solving a problem that genomics researchers have faced for decades: how can I get a more accurate and detailed look at that stretch of DNA? In doing so, however, they created a platform with incredible potential. I joined Samplix because I wanted to make the scientific community aware of this potential and participate in the growth and evolution of Xdrop™. Generating awareness has been challenging but we are excited about the many innovative applications our customers and partners have already demonstrated. We want to encourage that exploration. That is the reason for our grant program.
FLG: Tell us about the grant program. What can an applicant expect?
The grant program offers enrichment and sequencing services to three deserving applicants. We invite anyone engaged in life science research to tell us about a challenging genomic target of interest. If their 750-word description is selected, we’ll use Xdrop™ to carry out a pilot project on two samples. Applicants can expect speedy and professional review of their proposal, top-quality results from our service team, and support if they’d like to discuss their project before submission.
FLG: Are you looking for a particular project type or topic?
Quite the contrary. We have been amazed by the unforeseen uses that our customers have found for Xdrop™ and hope that this grant will lead to even more ideas. We recently highlighted the advantages of Xdrop™ in a webinar on the role of repeat expansions in disease and the revelation of unintended genomic modifications from CRISPR-based editing. There is a lot to explore in these areas, as well as in characterizing genomic integrations or phasing haplotypes. Last but not least, we’ve seen growing interest among plant scientists looking for ways to address issues in sequencing very large, often polyploid genomes.
FLG: Why did Samplix choose to launch a grant program to explore new uses of Xdrop™?
Our Chief Technology Officer, Marie Mikkelsen, said it well in a recent interview: “The simplicity of Xdrop™ allows for unrestrained innovation in use.” Making our expert services available to researchers who have ideas about new applications for Xdrop™ is our way of learning from others, creating opportunities that may not be on our radar, and testing Xdrop™ in new and varied environments. We also feel that the timing is right. In these months, where it has been difficult to conduct experiments in the lab, we hope that this program allows three meriting researchers to push the boundaries of science and test a new technology without agonizing over contact restrictions, resources, or budgets.
I would encourage everyone to look at what we have accomplished so far with Xdrop™ and see if detailed analysis of long DNA sequences can advance their research. If so, apply!