Olink proteomics and drug development
We talk with Maria Janeh, an Olink expert who has been working at TATAA Biocenter since 2020, about Olink proteomics and how it is supporting drug development, and what the future looks like for TATAA Biocenter.
Hi Maria, tell us who you are and what you do?
I am a project manager, specialising in Olink proteomics, I work closely with clients who have protein biomarker discovery projects. I am also an active member of TATAA’s LIMS and GLP implementation teams.
What brought you to TATAA Biocenter?
After my PhD in Cell and Biology at the American University in Beirut, I applied for a job at TATAA Biocenter. The mix of academic research and industry really appealed to me, I love the fact we have an R&D department. It was a big step moving from Lebanon, but I knew that TATAA was a place where I could belong, especially once I had met my colleagues and seen the laboratory.
To work with Olink Explore, we have made large investments in the laboratory, with automated liquid handling systems, pipetting robots and an Illumina NovaSeq NGS platform.Maria Janeh, Project Manager, TATAA Biocenter
What is the principle behind Olink technology?
Olink technology is based on the Proximity Extension Assay (PEA) immunoassay principle, which allows high throughput detection of protein biomarkers in liquid samples.
For each biomarker on an Olink array, a matched pair of antibodies linked to unique oligonucleotides (proximity probes) will bind to the respective protein target present in the sample. As a result, the oligo probes come in close proximity and hybridize to each other.
The addition of a DNA polymerase leads to an extension of the hybridizing oligo, bound to one of the probes, creating a DNA amplicon that can subsequently be detected and quantified by quantitative real-time PCR or NGS. We have the experience to perform this analysis not only on Liquid Biopsy samples such as plasma or serum, but also on cell lysates and cell culture supernatants.
What kind of Olink platforms do TATAA offer?
We offer the full spectrum of Olink platforms, from Olink Target 48 for absolute quantification of cytokines, Olink Target 96 and Explore 384 for pilot studies, and Olink Explore 3072 for large-scale studies.
To work with Olink Explore, we have made big investments in the laboratory, with automated liquid handling systems including Mosquito, Dragon Fly and epMotion, pipetting robots and an Illumina NovaSeq NGS platform. I’ve also setup a dedicated workflow specially tailored for Olink. All this gives TATAA a unique advantage over other Olink service providers.
What else do you offer in your Olink support?
We provide support, with large data sets, for post-Olink bioanalysis. We also offer in-house sequencing, with our NovaSeq 6000, which keeps the whole project under one roof, which is important in terms of sample management.
We also have a rigorous quality control. This helps deliver the highest quality data, with a tight layer of security with strong data protection.
What sort of customers have you been working with?
We’ve been supporting universities worldwide in basic and clinical research. More recently we’ve been collaborating with large pharma and biotech companies, Thanks to our recent investment in our infastructure – with sample management, temperature-controlled freezer farms and automation – TATAA Biocenter has been able to serve industry customers very competitively.
What are the applications of Olink in terms of drug development?
An inadequate understanding of the real-time biology in disease and drug response can increase cost and time in drug development. Protein biomarker discovery with Olink can be used to predict response and provide insights into the diagnosis and prognosis of a particular disease.
How do you see the future for TATAA Biocenter?
We are always expanding, with new lab scientists and with the latest Olink developments and updates. With TATAA, there is a lot happening right now. The biggest news, which mainly impacts our PCR services, is that we are preparing to reach GLP compliance in 2023 which is a big achievement for a bioanalytical CRO like us.