In this interview, Istvan Szatmari, the Head of The Genomic Core Facility at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, talks to NewsMed about the evolution of Molecular Biology.
Please could you introduce yourself and what inspired your career in Molecular Biology?
I am Istvan Szatmari, an Associate Professor at the University of Debrecen, Hungary. I am also head of The Genomic Core Facility at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
I was inspired to enter a career in Molecular Biology due to my interest in biology. During my university training, we had an excellent Molecular Biology program, so I enrolled and learned a lot about Molecular Biology. Later, I dealt with transcription regulation and gene expression regulation during my post-doctorate period.
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You recently gave a presentation at ICG-17 titled “Run X-Ray and ZBTB-46 Dependent Gene Expression Profile with the MGI DNBSEQ-G400”. What did you cover in your talk, and how did people react?
That was a comparative study; in our core facility, the MGI DNBSEQ-G400, the DNA sequencer is available, and we try to compare these sequencing technologies with the illumina technology. That is why we use cells that can express Run X-Ray or the ZBTB 46 transcription factors, and we try to identify the genes that these transcription factors can regulate.
We compared the gene expression part obtained using illumina and MGI sequencing. I provided the results of this analysis, and we found high instances of overlapping in the very same gene square regulated using both platforms. These results suggested that the MGI platform is well-suited for transcription analysis.
István Szatmári at ICG17 – The Evolution of Molecular Biology
MGI is also launching a new chemistry, HotMPS, which is ideal for generating higher sequences and more information. Can you provide an overview of your experience with that technology?
We acquired very similar results when using the HotMPS chemistry using the MGI technology. With the HotMPS, we obtained excellent data and expression. Since then, we have analyzed other DNA samples using the original sequencing and achieved promising results with HotMPS technology.
We also performed Exome sequencing, Genome sequencing, and some other studies using this HotMPS and achieved excellent results.
How important is talking about data and having a diverse data set when conducting global transcript profiling?
It is a complex issue because we should use multiple biological replicates. For instance, in this case, we are using four replicates to get consistent data and statistical analysis, but it depends on the type of samples.
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You will likely need more replicates to achieve consistent results if you have human clinical samples. The other possibility is that if we differentiate the cells, the differentiated cells could be more heterogeneous. Another potentiality is that we can apply single-cell analysis because, in this case, cellular heterogeneity can be considered during the study. In that case, we can use fewer replicates.
Life Sciences research, especially concerning Genomics Transcriptomics, often requires a high level of collaboration between researchers. How important are conferences such as ICG-17 in promoting this international collaboration, and what are the benefits of a 10-minute in-person event and conference?
There are many benefits of an in-person conference. For instance, we can show others results and get feedback. After my presentation, I received a lot of good feedback and suggestions. Additionally, I also learned a lot about single-cell analysis or spatial-transcript analysis. These are very hot topics, and there are a few published papers that refer to such techniques. A conference offers the opportunity to focus on emerging research and allows you to follow new trends.
The field of Molecular Biology has evolved dramatically in the last decade. How have the advances in new technology accelerated the field?
Genomics and transcript analysis has helped accelerate the field of Molecular Biology. Around 20 years ago, when we started the first mercury, global expression analysis was a modern and advanced method. Nowadays, single-cell analysis and spatial-transcriptomic analysis can help to improve this technology further, and we can get a detailed picture of various solar processes.
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The analysis must also be, or can be, combined to get the complete picture of the various process, including pathological samples.
Are there any fields within Molecular Biology that you are particularly interested in exploring in the coming years?
We are incredibly interested in the single-cell approach because, especially in our field, we focus on cell differentiation, so the heterogeneity of the cells is a big issue, and the single-cell approach can help us understand some of the various transcriptomic events.
How important is Europe to the Life Science community?
In many European countries, there are exceedingly good research-level authorities. I am familiar with the transcriptomic level authorities, and so much data is available from them. There are also many clinical samples available across Europe, so these samples are instrumental in accessing big data.
What is next for you and your research?
Recently, we have generated a considerable amount of transcriptomic data. However, much of this data needs to be confirmed and validated, especially at a protein level. We must also validate the pass phase we have identified using the Genomic approach. That is why we intend to pay for many functions of studies.
There is a saying, “omics for all.” As a scientist, what does that mean to you?
As I am interested in transcriptomic analysis, accessibility and getting inside the omics, specifically the transcriptomic, is crucial, including single-cell RNA sequencing and other related approaches. These can help to define those generic regions which can be open during the gene expression.
MGI Tech Co., Ltd. (referred to as MGI) is committed to building core tools and technology to lead life science through intelligent innovation. MGI focuses on R&D, production, and sales of DNA sequencing instruments, reagents, and related products to support life science research, agriculture, precision medicine, and healthcare. MGI is a leading producer of clinical high-throughput gene sequencers, and its multi-omics platforms include genetic sequencing, mass spectrometry, medical imaging, and laboratory automation.
Founded in 2016, MGI has more than 1000 employees, nearly half of whom are R&D personnel. MGI operates in 39 countries and regions and has established multiple research and production bases around the world. Providing real-time, comprehensive, life-long solutions, its vision is to enable effective and affordable healthcare solutions for all.