NISC - NIH Intramural Sequencing Center NISC

About NISC

Finding NISC



For directions to NISC, please see our Contact Us page.

  NISC was established in the summer of 1997 with six ABI 377 sequencers, two Sun servers and a whopping 200 gigabytes of data storage. From the beginning we emphasized the generation of the highest data quality possible. While we quickly developed proficiency in a variety of experimental approaches such as Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) and Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) tags, true scale-up came with the start of Mouse Genome Sequencing Consortium and capillary-based Sanger sequencing. With a large supply of mouse bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) sytenically mapped to human chromosome 7, NISC established a high-throughput, plasmid shotgun sequencing, assembly and finishing pipeline. When BAC mapping collaborators expanded across phylogenies with the use of universal probes, NISC established a Comparative Vertebrate Sequencing Project. Large genomic regions created by NISC from high-quality multi-BAC assemblies served to guide larger whole genome sequencing projects. In an effort to study genomic factors controlling gene expression, forty-four carefully selected genomic targets were mapped and sequenced in as many as thirty-one different species providing evolutionary conservation information to complement expression studies in the ENCODE Project. When the scientific community interest in "medical sequencing" first blossomed, NISC established a high-throughput pipeline for the specification, generation, sequencing and analysis of human amplicons in order to detect medically significant variants.

NISC rode the wave of NextGen sequencing technologies as they emerged in 2007, first with Roche/454 pyrosequencing, followed soon afterwards with Illumina sequencing by synthesis. The extraordinary increase in large volumes of short read data lead to a wide variety of experimental approaches that were previously not practical. These included genomic DNA based experiments such as Whole Genome Sequencing, ChIP Seq, deep amplicons sequencing and targeted enrichment used with great success in Whole Exome Sequencing. Alternative approaches, such as bi-sulfite sequencing have allowed experimental determination of epigenetic factors, such as DNA methylation. RNASeq experiments designed to capture and sequence messenger-RNA and micro-RNAs have dramatically contributed to the understanding of gene expression in selected cells and tissues.


NISC's role within NHGRI, and more broadly across NIH, aims to advance genome sequencing and its many applications, with a goal not simply to produce sequence data, but to produce the infrastructure required to bring genomic sequence to biology and medicine. We accomplish this by meeting with each NIH investigator to discuss the details of their project to determine which method(s) would work best. The most common types of sequencing projects include whole exome sequencing, RNA sequencing, custom capture sequencing, CHiP-seq and whole genome sequencing. However, we are always interested in exploring new methods and expanding our repertoire in this rapidly changing field. We also work closely with other investigators across the NHGRI Intramural Research Program to develop novel methods to analyze genomics data with applicability to clinical and basic science questions that were thought to be intractable only a few years ago.  

Who We Serve

The NIH Intramural Sequencing Center provides cost-recovery sequencing services to the NIH Intramural Community.