Today 5:30 Live at Sudo Room: Martin Laurence, founder of Shipshaw Labs, on sequencing, big data and their use in the discovery of a fungus that may cause cancer. If you can't make it in person, it will be zoomed: zoom.us (https://zoom.us/j/491340222)
Recent advances in prostate cancer research indicate that a fastidious fungus could be infecting the prostate and causing prostate cancer (Sutcliffe, Sfanos, De Marzo et Laurence, 2014). Many medically important fastidious fungus species remain to be discovered (Ghannoum et al, 2010; Paulino et al, 2008; Findley et al, 2013), and substantial evidence indicates that one such species is causing the chronic prostate inflammation which affects over 80% of American men by age 75. Detecting medically important fastidious fungi such as Pneumocystis jiroveci or Encephalitozoon cuniculi in clinical specimens is very challenging. These two species asymptomatically infect a substantial fraction of the population; they do not grow in commonly used culture media, and commonly used consensus PCR primers fail to amplify their ribosomal DNA. The advent of high-throughput sequencing technology has enabled a new microbe detection technique coined “unbiased high-through sequencing” (Lipkin 2010). This technique does not use consensus PCR primers, thus can detect all microbes in clinical specimens, including those whose ribosomal DNA region has substantially diverged from related species. We applied this technique to prostate specimens using the Illumina HiSeq 2500 sequencer and the Leif Microbiome Analyzer, revealing novel sequences which may be originating from a microbe etiologically related to prostate cancer.
Martin Laurence is the founder of Shipshaw Labs. Prior to Shipshaw, he cofounded Octasic Semiconductor at age 19. As Octasic's chief integrated circuit (IC) designer he was responsible for the design of all ICs produced at Octasic until 2005: ATM and IP voice packetization, voice compression, and echo cancellation devices. He left Octasic in 2006 to found Shipshaw Labs. Prior to founding Octasic, in 1996 Martin designed his first commercial chip: a 1,000 channel ATM voice packetization device. The device was marketed by Zarlink Semiconductor and was an immediate commercial success. This success led to the foundation of Octasic Semiconductor in 1998. Martin is a member of the Board of directors of Octasic. He graduated in Pure and Applied Science from Maisonneuve College in Montreal in 1998.