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DNA Microarray Technology at Agilent Technologies: Engineering, Manufacturing and Applications

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Timothy G. Griffin.

Host: Pietro Lio'.

This seminar will discuss aspects of DNA microarray technology with emphasis placed on engineering aspects of the in-situ DNA microarray manufacturing process implemented by Agilent Technologies of Santa Clara, California. A DNA microarray (also commonly known as gene chip or genome chip, DNA chip, or gene array) is a collection of discrete micron-scale sites (features) within which unique sequences of DNA are attached to a planar solid surface. This surface is often composed of glass, plastic or silicon. This collection of features form an addressable two-dimensional array of approximately 240,000 DNA probes on a standard microscope slide format that can be used in a variety of ways to answer biological questions.

Agilent’s in-situ manufacturing process relies on picolitre-scale deposition of reactive chemistries at discrete locations to synthesize molecules in place on the slide surface, building the polymer one base at a time. This process differs from conventional deposition based (spotted) microarrays that deposit pre-synthesized molecules at discrete locations. We will review technical aspects of the inkjet based in-situ microarray printing process and discuss some of the problems encountered when driving to higher density.

Illustrative examples of microarray application technologies used to answer biological questions will be presented with emphasis on the aCGH (array Comparative Genomic Hybridization) platform. This technology has recently revolutionized the field of chromosomal aberration detection. Aberrations such as chromosome rearrangements are commonly associated with multiple disease states such as cancer and many developmental syndromes.

We will end with a brief discussion of interesting future and proposed uses of microarray technology ranging from microbiological applications in the ocean to the search for life on other planets.


Dr Peck received his BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta in 1991. While an undergraduate, Dr. Peck began working with Prof. Sigurdson on a summer research project in 1989. This work was aimed at understanding the complex mechanisms controlling and the structures created by impacting droplets. Dr Peck went on to complete an MSc and PhD in the same area under Prof. Sigurdson’s supervision. Dr Peck continued his work on interfacial flows and vortex dynamics while a Post Doc at the Center for Turbulence Research jointly run by Stanford and NASA -Ames Research Center. In 2000 Dr Peck joined Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, California (formerly Hewlett Packard) where he is now the genomics R&D principal engineer developing their inkjet-based DNA microarray manufacturing platform.

This talk is part of the Wednesday Seminars - Department of Computer Science and Technology series.

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