History

In recognition of the increasing importance of genomics and bioinformatics in biological and interdisciplinary research, the Notre Dame Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility (GBCF) was established in 2008 through a Notre Dame Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) in genomics, disease ecology, and global health. The SRI proposal, led by Professors David Severson and Frank Collins, included faculty from multiple departments in the colleges of science and engineering. This SRI funding supported the development of the Eck Institute for Global Health (EIGH), enabled strategic faculty hires in the area of genomics (Department of Biological Sciences) and bioinformatics (Department of Computer Science and Engineering) and provided an initial investment of $2.9 million devoted to the development of a Genomics and a Bioinformatics Core Facility.

The GBCF was initially established as two independent and complementary recharge-based core facilities. These two parallel facilities were supported by hiring managing directors and technicians in each area and were equipped to provide state-of-the-art services to Notre Dame researchers. From 2008-2010, the GBCF was administered through the EIGH under the original SRI agreement. The GBCF Directorship from 2008-2009 was jointly held by Michael Ferdig in Genomics and Scott Emrich in Bioinformatics. 

In 2010, the GBCF moved to direct governance through Notre Dame Research and the two original cores were merged into a single facility under the Directorship of Michael Pfrender. The daily operations and staff of the GBCF are now overseen by Assistant Director Melissa Stephens. Staffing includes two genomics technicians and a senior analyst in Bioinformatics.

Occupying 1500 sq. ft. in Galvin Life Science, the GBCF was initially equipped with an ABI capillary sequencer, a Roche 454 FLX high-throughput sequencer, and equipment to conduct gene expression studies using both Affymetrix and Nimblegen platforms. In 2017, the Core acquired an Illumina NextSeq500 sequencher to increase the capacity and advance short-read sequencing technologies. In 2019, the GBCF added single-cell technologies to keep up with the rapidly evolving landscape of genomic research.