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Home > News > At IBM Research, a constant quest for the bleeding edge

August 2nd, 2010

At IBM Research, a constant quest for the bleeding edge

Abstract:
IBM also offers its customers and clients--and potential partners--one of its most intangible advantages, Frase said: the endless possibilities that come from having world-class researchers from wildly diverse disciplines working in close proximity.

An example of that power came, Frase explained, from the hallway conversations between an IBM Research "chip guy" and a "computational biology guy" who began talking about ideas of how they could work together.

"We're very much steered by what we see as the pain points of clients," Frase said, explaining that a new project with pharmaceutical giant Roche came from the discussions between the two researchers into whether it was possible to apply the company's expertise in microelectronics toward inexpensive gene sequencing.

The two researchers pondered the question and came up with a procedure in which they drilled a tiny hole into a microprocessor in order to allow a strand of DNA to go through and impact its nanocircuitry. By designing the circuitry of a chip to read peptide pairs, she explained, it is now theoretically possible to have a physical device that can get the cost of sequencing genes down to under $1,000. Roche saw the papers that the two researchers wrote on their work and came to IBM, and a partnership was born. Now, Roche will likely license the technology and bring it to market.

Source:
cnet.com

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