The Future of NGS in SARS Surveillance and Precision Oncology


Title: The Future of NGS in SARS Surveillance and Precision Oncology

Date: October 7, 2021

Time: 1 p.m. ET

Presenter: Sixto M. Leal Jr., MD, PhD and Alexander Craig Mackinnon Jr., MD, PhD

Enabling More Timely and Cost-Effective Sequencing

In this webinar, you’ll learn how new advancements are benefiting labs who are performing SARS-CoV-2 and oncology testing using next-generation sequencing (NGS). Researchers who are concerned about the continued emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants hope to detect and mitigate their impact and spread by coordinating public health efforts.

NGS makes it possible to rapidly sequence SARS-CoV-2 from samples to establish the viral genome and detect major variants of concern. The high accuracy, speed, and throughput of NGS enables labs to provide timely data to guide infection prevention and public health interventions.

Historically, turnaround time for next-gen sequencing has been lengthy. New developments in NGS technology have enabled the turnaround time to be shortened significantly. In addition, the workflows are much simpler, and personnel and lab time can be used more judiciously. Modern sequencing technology has improved the operational capacity and efficiency of labs due to minimal hands-on requirements, rapid turnaround times, and simplified informatics.

Learning Objectives

This webinar will help you:

  • Describe the current situation around SARS CoV-2 mutation emergence and why it is important to monitor emerging variants
  • Discuss how the University of Alabama implemented an NGS workflow to sequence samples for monitoring the spread of variants across the state
  • Evaluate how NGS can be used to successfully perform variant analysis
  • Discuss how the rapid turnaround time of NGS is making an impact compared to previous, more lengthy turnaround times

Watch on Demand       Download Dr. Leal's Slides (PDF, 4.6MB)       Download Dr. Mackinnon's Slides (PDF, 1.4MB)

This webinar is produced by Whitehat Communications, a provider of continuing education programs in clinical laboratory sciences that has been approved by the ASCLS P.A.C.E.™ Program. One P.A.C.E. credit hour will be provided for this complimentary, basic-level program.



Sixto M. Leal Jr., MD, PhD

Director, Clinical Microbiology, Fungal Reference Laboratory at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Leal earned an MD and PhD through the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at Case Western Reserve University. He also completed a pathology residency at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and a microbiology fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. He is certified by the American Board of Pathology in clinical pathology and medical microbiology and the American Board of Medical Microbiology with a special clinical interest in medical mycology, parasitology, and molecular diagnostics. He serves on the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Microbiology Resource Committee, and the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) fungal diagnostics and antifungal subcommittee working groups.


Alexander Craig Mackinnon Jr., MD, PhD

Dr. Mackinnon is the inaugural director of the Division of Genomics Diagnostics and Bioinformatics in the Department of Pathology, School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Mackinnon is leading ongoing efforts to establish the Precision Diagnostic Laboratory at UAB. A board-certified anatomical and molecular genetic pathologist, Mackinnon joined UAB after serving as associate professor in the Department of Pathology at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). Mackinnon directed the Clinical and Translational Research Laboratory at MCW, where he provided interpretation related to the pathology of tumor samples.

The lab developed multiple NGS-based panels targeting variants in both DNA and RNA. He has experience designing and validating targeted, custom DNA and RNA sequencing assays. Mackinnon’s lab interpreted a range of tests, from sequencing data to digital quantitative imaging for immunohistochemical analysis. Mackinnon is a member of the College of American Pathologists and the American Society of Clinical Pathology, where he served on the Molecular Pathology Section, Pathologist Recertification Individualized Self-Assessment Examination Committee.