Take Action at the Cancer Center
The purpose of the Cancer Genomics Shared Resource (CGSR) is to provide University of Illinois Cancer Center (UICC) investigators with a means of characterizing the effects of mutagenic events and efficiently conduct highly mechanistic examinations of cancer genetics. To achieve these goals, the CGSR was established in 2018 to provide multidimensional analysis of mutagenic events and their effects on the genome. Services span analyses on the single cell, the multicellular tumor, patient, and the patient’s interaction with the environment.
Meet Our Team
The CGSR is supported by two full-time PhD-level scientists, four full-time master’s level scientists, and nine bachelor’s level and pre-degree level research specialists.
Bradley Merrill, PhD, CGSR Director
Brad Merrill, PhD directs the CGSR. He is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, with 25+ years of experience in molecular biology, genetics, analysis of nucleic acids, and genome editing.
Kevin Kunstman, DNA Sequencing Manager
Kevin Kunstman is the Interim Director for the Research Resources Center at UIC. Kunstman has 30+ years of experience as a molecular biologist and molecular virologist, specializing in Next Generation sequence data acquisition and analysis. He is responsible for NGS DNA sequencing services, including consultations, study design, DNA library prep, sequencing, and data analyses.
Zarema Arbieva, PhD, RNA Analyses Manager
Zarema Arbieva, PhD has a broad background in biochemistry, molecular biology, and bioinformatics, and she has carried out molecular profiling studies of complex human diseases including hematological cancers, breast cancer, and melanoma. Arbieva advises on and manages all single-cell isolation and sequencing workflows, and gene expression analyses.
CGSR Major Services
The CGSR supports its users through consultation services, direct services, collaborative services, and continued education and training of investigators. The CGSR is available for consultation and sample drop-off and pick-up during normal business hours. A project management system called CrossLabs is used to manage unassisted instrument use, register projects, and track project progression.
We offer free consultations to UICC members by each unit (DNA sequencing, RNA analyses, genome editing).
- The DNA Sequencing Unit offers daily capillary DNA sequencing and cell line authentication via short tandem repeat analysis and a variety of high throughput sequencing capabilities. High-throughput sequencing of short PCR amplicons is an area of expertise, which has been leveraged for microbiome and CRISPR outcomes analyses.
- The RNA Analysis Unit specializes in a variety of microarray platforms and preparing investigators’ raw samples for NGS-based analyses. These include samples for RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, methylation (MeDIP), and cancer mutation panel sequencing. The unit offers scRNA-seq services matched to the investigator’s needs.
- The Genome Editing Unit offers genetically modified cell lines, modified mice, and individualized CRISPR-Cas9 reagents designed and generated on a per-project basis. The unit also conducts genome-wide mutagenesis screens using whole genome libraries.
Education and Training
In the past year, the CGSR sponsored four seminars, virtual meetings, and workshops focused on scRNA-seq and genome editing. The CGSR also supported the development of regular “Single Cell Club” meetings, which provides a forum for UICC members and the greater UIC research community interested in scRNA-seq to share recent data and discuss new techniques and technologies.
CGSR staff are very active in teaching in core courses in the Graduate Education in bioMedical Science PhD program, including a methods course and molecular genetics course.
Equipment and Technologies
The CGSR maintains equipment for basic and advanced genomic research in the following areas:
Individual Cell Analysis
- Fluidigm C1
- 1CellBio inDrop
- 10X Genomics Chromium
Next Generation DNA Sequencing
- Illumina NextSeq500
- Oxford Nanopore MinIon
Nucleic Acid Analysis
- Agilent TapeStation 2200, 4200
- Life Technologies Viia7 RT-PCR
- 3730xl Analyzer
Nucleic Acid Preparation
Various instruments for extraction and sample preparation for analysis
For more information or questions related to Cancer Genomics Shared Resource, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.