In the fall of 2016, NGX Bio announced the winners of NGS discovery funding contest at Festival of Genomics event in San Diego.The abstracts were judged by a team of NGX Bioscientists on scientific merit, innovation, and use of NGS in their research.

The winner of the grand prize is Christina Bergey and Kenny Chiou from Washington University. Their proposal utilized a non-invasive method to extract high-quality genome from a low-quality fecal sample from an endangered western lowland gorilla. They will use the 5k prize to test their cutting edge technology for non-invasive genome sequencing from fecal Gorilla samples. Non-invasive genomics is key for environmental monitoring as well as for conservation and forensic application.

The first runner-up winner is González-Segovia Eric Gerardo from Mexico University. The proposal entailed a study of low recombination regions of the genome for their role in local adaptation in Mexican lowland and highland maize. The project will use Illumina HiSeq X Ten technology to characterize candidate regions in the landrace Palomero Toluqueño to an unprecedented level of detail. The project will use the 1k prize to study local adaptation of maize.

The second runner-up winner is Emily K. Delaney from UC Davis University. The project will use pooled and targeted sequencing to map the autosomal locus controlling a sex-limited polymorphism in Drosophila jambulina, a species where females have light or dark abdominal pigmentation but males have only dark abdominal pigmentation. Identifying this locus and the associated nucleotides will provide insight into the genetic mechanism causing an autosomal locus to produce a female-only trait. The project will use the 1k prize to study the recurrent evolution of pigmentation in flies.

The third runner-up is Karen Mruk from Stanford University. The project will combine behavior analyses and transcriptional profiling to identify neural specific changes that occur upon injury and during regeneration, that are missed by traditional, whole tissue analysis. The proposed research is expected to provide a complete picture of the biological basis for recovery from spinal cord injury in zebrafish. The project will use the 1k prize to study nervous system regeneration using the zebrafish model.