R. Cory Bernhards
Ultra-rapid sequencing analysis for on-site biothreat identification
About R. Cory Bernhards
Dr. Cory Bernhards is a Research Biologist at the U.S. Army CCDC Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. His research programs focuses on the development of fieldable detection systems for biothreat agents. Previously, Dr. Bernhards worked as a Research Microbiologist for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Prior to that, he was an NRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Bernhards received B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biological Sciences from Virginia Tech.
Rapid and accurate biological identification technologies are needed in the field, especially for unknown, emerging, and genetically modified biothreats. We aimed to accelerate the time from sample to answer, simplify procedures, and reduce equipment/power requirements so operators could perform untargeted whole-genome sequencing in field settings. Optimized nanopore sequencing workflows were established for various sample types using simple, fieldable, and rapid sample and library preparation procedures. Using one of these workflows, raw sample-to-report was achieved in under 35 minutes utilizing only battery-powered equipment. To our knowledge, this is the fastest DNA sequencing analysis from raw sample to report ever achieved.