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Centre for Health Genomics and Informatics

Our Mission
Our mission is to provide all researchers at the University of Calgary with access to state-of-the-art next-generation DNA sequencing services. Our goal is to build the technological, bioinformatic and human resource capacity required to support our province’s needs as genomics and personalized medicine become more essential to our research and health care needs.

About Us
The ACHRI Genomics facility provides a wide range of next-generation sequencing services and access to high performance bioinformatics for sequence analysis to all University of Calgary researchers regardless of Faculty or medical institute affiliation. Since it was founded in 2011 by ACHRI, management of the platform has grown to include partners from the Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute (SACRI), the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, the Infections, Inflammation and Chronic Diseases strategic research theme, the Centre for Advanced Technologies (CAT), and the Cumming School of Medicine. In April 2016, the ACHRI Genomic and Bioinformatics platform was rebranded as the Cumming School of Medicine Centre for Health Genomics and Informatics

The Genomics facility has five different next-generation sequencing platforms at two sites (Cumming School of Medicine and the Alberta Children’s Hospital). Our newest addition, the Illumina NextSeq 500 instrument can generate up to 120 GB (400M 2x150 bp reads) in just over a day and is well suited for rapid whole genome, exome, and transcriptome sequencing. An Illumina MiSeq is the preferred platform for microbial 16S rRNA metagenomics or small genome sequencing with its 15 GB (25 M 2x300 bp reads) capacity. An Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine using semiconductor sequencing is also available for small projects and Ampliseq panels. Single-molecule very long-read sequencing (50,000 bp) is under development on our Oxford Nanopore Technologies MinION and MinION Mk1 devices.
Custom synthesis of oligonucleotide primers and capillary-based Sanger DNA sequencing and genetic fragment analysis services are also co-located with the genomics services (but operated as UCDNA Services) for those genomics projects requiring special reagents or sequence validation.
We are a full service sequencing facility with highly-trained and dedicated staff and a suite of well-equipped laboratories, including air-lock isolated and RNase-free sample preparation areas, for DNA and RNA sample evaluation, amplicon generation and library preparation. We support a wide variety of next-gen sequencing applications including whole genome, whole exome, ChIP, amplicon sequencing, transcriptome and small RNA profiling, and 16S rRNA and shotgun metagenomics. We can also help develop novel applications of NGS technologies and assays, i.e. nanopore sequencing or cell-free DNA assays.   We are a full service facility and researchers need only submit isolated genomic DNA or total RNA. We then perform all the required steps from library preparation through to generation of lists of variant or expressed genes.  Please refer to the Instrumentation Services and Prices  web pages for more of what we can do or Contact Us.

For Bioinformatics, we provide access to both sequencing data and a large variety of analytical tools through a Galaxy web-browser based graphical interface (UCID required). We have our own secure server room dedicated to genomics with high-performance high-memory servers and secure data storage with automatic off-site backup. A staff bioinformatics specialist is available for consultation (priority given to ACHRI members).


Director, Genomics Platform:  Dr. Richard Pon

Advanced Bioinformatics Specialist:  Dr. Paul Gordon