Chemical genetics research

Chemical genetics is a discipline that utilizes genetic epistasis to delineate the multigenic networks in which genes operate to affect phenotypes and traits. Epistasis is the combined effect of genes contributing to traits.

Robotic liquid handler
Robotic liquid handler and plate reader with auto-stackers.
High density colony arrayer
Singer RoToR High-density colony arrayer.

Techniques now exist to measure epistasis globally in cells in gene networks of entire genomes. Measurements are made on the effects of pairs of knockout mutations on cell growth and morphology, or pairs in which chemicals or RNA is that ablate gene function act in lieu of direct gene knockouts.

The technology is based on robotic high-throughput screening of living cells and has a direct spin-off for novel drug discovery.

Our chemical genetics laboratory is unique in New Zealand. Victoria University has contributed in excess of $1.4M dollars of its own funds and the Tertiary Education Commission awarded $1.53M in capital and operating funds to further support our development of chemical genetics.

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