Publications by authors named "Benjamin J Oberkfell"

2 Publications

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Genome remodelling in a basal-like breast cancer metastasis and xenograft.

Nature 2010 Apr;464(7291):999-1005

The Genome Center at Washington University, St Louis, Missouri 63108, USA.

Massively parallel DNA sequencing technologies provide an unprecedented ability to screen entire genomes for genetic changes associated with tumour progression. Here we describe the genomic analyses of four DNA samples from an African-American patient with basal-like breast cancer: peripheral blood, the primary tumour, a brain metastasis and a xenograft derived from the primary tumour. The metastasis contained two de novo mutations and a large deletion not present in the primary tumour, and was significantly enriched for 20 shared mutations. The xenograft retained all primary tumour mutations and displayed a mutation enrichment pattern that resembled the metastasis. Two overlapping large deletions, encompassing CTNNA1, were present in all three tumour samples. The differential mutation frequencies and structural variation patterns in metastasis and xenograft compared with the primary tumour indicate that secondary tumours may arise from a minority of cells within the primary tumour.
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April 2010

Design and implementation of a generalized laboratory data model.

BMC Bioinformatics 2007 Sep 26;8:362. Epub 2007 Sep 26.

Genome Sequencing Center, Washington University, St, Louis, MO 63108, USA.

Background: Investigators in the biological sciences continue to exploit laboratory automation methods and have dramatically increased the rates at which they can generate data. In many environments, the methods themselves also evolve in a rapid and fluid manner. These observations point to the importance of robust information management systems in the modern laboratory. Designing and implementing such systems is non-trivial and it appears that in many cases a database project ultimately proves unserviceable.

Results: We describe a general modeling framework for laboratory data and its implementation as an information management system. The model utilizes several abstraction techniques, focusing especially on the concepts of inheritance and meta-data. Traditional approaches commingle event-oriented data with regular entity data in ad hoc ways. Instead, we define distinct regular entity and event schemas, but fully integrate these via a standardized interface. The design allows straightforward definition of a "processing pipeline" as a sequence of events, obviating the need for separate workflow management systems. A layer above the event-oriented schema integrates events into a workflow by defining "processing directives", which act as automated project managers of items in the system. Directives can be added or modified in an almost trivial fashion, i.e., without the need for schema modification or re-certification of applications. Association between regular entities and events is managed via simple "many-to-many" relationships. We describe the programming interface, as well as techniques for handling input/output, process control, and state transitions.

Conclusion: The implementation described here has served as the Washington University Genome Sequencing Center's primary information system for several years. It handles all transactions underlying a throughput rate of about 9 million sequencing reactions of various kinds per month and has handily weathered a number of major pipeline reconfigurations. The basic data model can be readily adapted to other high-volume processing environments.
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September 2007