Ronan O’Malley joined the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in 2016 as the lead for the Sequencing Technologies group. In this role, he helps manage production sequencing for community sequencing projects – an end-to-end workflow that encompasses sample receipt, Quality Control, library construction, and sequencing – and leads Research and Development efforts to expand the capabilities of the JGI for sequence-driven functional genomics.
Prior to joining the JGI, Dr. O’Malley was a staff scientist at the Salk Institute where he developed several functional genomics applications including tools for characterizing transcription factor binding site (DAP-seq) and large-scale mutant (TDNA-seq). He recently spoke with JGI’s Massie Ballon about the big move.
Elements: What do you do at the JGI?
Ronan O’Malley: I manage the Sequencing Technology team. My group is responsible for all JGI sequence data generation and R&D efforts to develop cutting-edge genomics tools. On the data production side, last year we generated over 300 trillion DNA base pairs. Our R&D efforts are focused on novel genomic approaches such as single-cell RNA-seq and DAP-seq to reveal the gene networks underlying important plant, fungal and bacterial traits.
Elements: Who in Berkeley, at either the main Lab campus or at UC Berkeley are you already working with, and what is the project or projects?
Ronan: We have a great collaboration with Dr. Diane Dickel at LBNL to develop single cell RNA-seq for plants. Together we published one of the first plant single cell RNA-seq studies in which we characterized Arabidopsis root cell-types. We collaborate with Dr. Louise Glass at UC Berkeley to map gene networks in the fungi Neurospora. In addition, we are part of EPICON, a joint JGI and UC Berkeley project to characterize epigenomic features in drought-stressed Sorghum.
Elements: What are you looking forward to about being co-located at the main campus?
Ronan: It will be exciting to be in a new building custom built for JGI, and sharing the space with KBase will allow us to explore many new opportunities. We look forward to being a closerpart of the Berkeley Lab family and being at the main campus will allow us to participate and contribute to the dynamic research community there. More personally, I am an avid mountain biker so I’m looking forward to exploring the trails off of Grizzly Peak!