The Pharmacogenomics group is an integral part of the Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology at The University of Liverpool and is now situated in the Waterhouse Building (formely the old Royal Hospital building).
Automated nucleic acid isolation based on magnetic bead technology is used to extract DNA from large volumes (10ml) of starting material. A state-of-the-art DNA archiving system can hold up to 300,000 DNA samples from patients and controls. Samples are stored in the individual tubes in a 96-well plate format. Tubes are 2D bar-coded and are sorted and selected via an automated robotic system, enabling high-throughput genotyping and analysis. Included in the archive are rare samples from people who have experienced adverse drug reactions affecting the liver or skin. Samples are tracked throughout the genotyping process via the barcode readers and Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). Clinical data are linked to individual’s genotyping data, however, all individuals who consented to donate their DNA are fully anonymised.
Two different medium to high throughput genotyping platforms, including the real-time PCR using the TaqMan chemistry (in a 96 well plate format) and Sequenom MALDI-TOF (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight) mass spectrometry system (384 well plate format) are installed in the department.
Pre and post-PCR areas are located in different laboratories to prevent PCR cross-contamination. Quality control monitoring is performed for each experiment and on a monthly basis. Genotyping call rates are routinely recorded and analysed.
The pharmacogenetics facility is complemented by a wide range of technologies and methods in the Department of Pharmacology, School of Biomedical Sciences and the University of Liverpool including the proteomics unit, immunopharmacology, confocal microscopy, electron microscopy, the Liverpool Microarray Facility and high-throughput sequencing.
The Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicines opened in October 2009 and is based in the University’s Old Royal Infirmary. The new facility is the base for the pharmacogenetics team who will work alongside partner NHS organisations to collect clinical information from patients in hospitals across the North West.