Humans of IFE: Victoria Coyne

19th February 2019

Field of expertise: Genomics

Position title: Senior Genomics Technologist

What are you working on at the moment?
New chemistry for the PacBio sequel has come out and we have started to see some amazing results from it. We have several projects coming in for long read sequencing, mostly to discover the sequence of new genomes and this new chemistry is really helping people get more data than ever before to build reliable genomes. We also have a variety of RNA sequencing and metagenomics projects. These allow people to discover what part of the genome is being transcribed or used (RNA sequencing) or bacterial and fungal identification from mixed populations.

Why is your work important?
Some projects are to investigate disease, such as the bacterial or fungal identification metagenome work. Some are building new genomes to help our understanding of the world using model organisms. Others are investigating things such as plastic digestion, how different food sources affect farmed animals and sequencing coral genomes. The people doing this work often know a lot about their field but come from different scientific backgrounds, so do not have the knowledge of how genomics can aid their research or the experience to carry this out themselves. Our team’s role is to help them understand the best way for them to carry out their research effectively and guide them through the lab processes until they hand their samples over to us. I carry out the sequencing for them. My understanding of the equipment and techniques in our lab has allowed me to train people from a variety of scientific backgrounds to feel confident in a molecular biology and genomics lab.

What excites or inspires you about your field?
Many people are restricted by funding, meaning they can’t always do the experiments they would like to do for their research. Seeing the technology improve year after year, with genomics becoming more and more affordable makes people’s hopes for their investigations become real possibilities. I particularly enjoy hearing about what people have uncovered in their projects from the data we have generated for them.

What are your hopes for the future?
I would like to continue to see costs come down for sequencing and for people to further understand the power of genetic sequencing. I would also like to see the genomics lab grow as we are capable of so much and there’s a number of types of experiments I haven’t had the opportunity to try yet, but would be really interesting to see in our lab.

Find out more about Victoria Coyne and the QUT Genomics team. 

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