Author Archives: Eli Sward

Eli Sward

About Eli Sward

Eli Sward, Ph.D is a Field Application Scientist at Golden Helix, joining the team in May of 2018. Eli graduated from Montana State University with a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology, and a doctorate’s in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. Beyond providing customer support and training at Golden Helix, Eli enjoys many outdoor activities and spending quality time with family and friends.

Variant Analysis of Bechet Disease Using VSClinical

         September 15, 2020

VSClinical is a feature to evaluate clinically relevant variants according to the ACMG or AMP guidelines. This feature can also be used to identify if a variant has been observed previously or evaluate a manually inserted variant. Take, for example, the scenario where a colleague is interested to see if you have seen any variants associated with Bechet syndrome, which… Read more »

Updates to dbSNP 154 v2

         September 3, 2020

In the 1990s the genetic industry voiced a request for a variant catalog that incorporates associated variant information such as phenotypic and metabolic pathways. The call was answered by NCBI, which created dbSNP; dbSNP became publicly available in 1998 and around 1.5 million variants. Fast forward to the present and dbSNP now contains over 2 billion SNPs spanning human, rat,… Read more »

Kaviar and Allele Frequency Aggregator (ALFA): the databases you didn’t know existed in VarSeq.

         August 4, 2020

In the search for disease causing mutations it is important to determine if the variant has been previously observed in humans and at what frequency. With the advent of increasing genomic information, there is now a variety of different databases and annotation sources that can be utilized. For some, this could be a tedious task that leads only to implementing… Read more »

Coming to SVS: LiftOver Capability

         July 23, 2020

The world has been making a shift to use GRCh38 human genome reference coordinates, but the transition has not been fast. Many of the mainstay human catalog projects are changing to use native GRCh38 catalogs, or are remapping their current data to GRCh38 coordinates. While this seems to be the advancing goal, it is leaving researchers and analysts with the… Read more »

Using the AMP Guidelines for Rhabdoid Tumor Analysis in VSClinical

         July 15, 2020

Introduction: Malignant Rhabdoid tumors (MRT) are among the most aggressive and lethal forms of infant and child cancer (1). These tumors are characterized by an unusual combination of mixed cellular elements similar to but not typical of teratomas and can originate at any anatomic location. When MRTs are present in the brain, they are called atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (AT/RT), which… Read more »

The New ACMG-Based Trio Tutorial

         April 3, 2020

Our Support Team curates a variety of tutorials to help orient new users to the capabilities of VarSeq. We are happy to announce the team’s new release of the trio tutorial that places emphasis on using the ACMG guidelines. This tutorial gives insight into the proper setup of pedigree structure as well as detailed descriptions of the filter containers and… Read more »

Updated VSReports Project Templates

         March 10, 2020

Generating a clinical report is the final step of most NGS pipelines and is important as it relays results and information to legacy systems, physicians and ultimately the patient. As reporting is a valuable process, Golden Helix offers reporting capabilities according to the ACMG and AMP guidelines but also as a standalone feature in VSReports. VSReports is a platform that… Read more »

VS-CNV; Golden Helix’s solution to replace traditional methods

         December 17, 2019

Copy Number Variation (CNV) is a type of structural variation in which sections of the genome are duplicated or deleted. Although CNV events are rare in the human population, constituting approximately 10% of the human genome, they are also associated with being causal mutations for disease phenotypes. Because of this, it is important for clinical and research settings to identify… Read more »

Clinical Validation of Copy Number Variants Using the AMP Guidelines

         October 10, 2019

The common approaches to detecting copy number variants (CNVs) are chromosomal microarray and MLPA. However, both options increase analysis time, per sample costs, and are limited to the size of CNV events that can be detected. VarSeq’s CNV caller, on the other hand, allows users to detect CNVs from the coverage profile stored in the BAM file, which allows you… Read more »

Variant Interpretation with VSClinical: RET-KIF5b Gene Fusion

         September 24, 2019

Gene Fusion Background Gene fusions are hybrid genes that result from translocations, interstitial deletions, or chromosomal inversions that can lead to constitutive gene activation and result in increased or abnormal protein production. Increased or abnormal protein production subsequently can play an important role in tumorigenesis and thus identifying and evaluating this type of biomarker is important in the cancer workspace…. Read more »

Variant Interpretation with VSClinical: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

         August 20, 2019

With the increasing knowledge of mutations involved in cancer, it is imperative to have a tertiary analysis pipeline that provides users with the most up to date information on somatic mutations. VSClinical’s Cancer Add-On does just that and more; with this feature, users can investigate and report on SNVs, indels, CNVs, gene fusions, and considerations for wild type genes in… Read more »

Variant Interpretation with VSClinical: Congenital Myasthenic Syndromes (CMS)

         July 26, 2019

Congenital Myasthenic Syndromes (CMS) History: Congenital Myasthenic Syndromes (CMS) are a group of rare hereditary conditions that can cause seizures, severe muscle weakness, respiratory problems, and potentially disabling weaknesses shortly after birth or early childhood (1). CMS is the result of abnormalities in acetylcholine proteins residing in the motor endplate of the neuromuscular junction (1). These abnormalities can be diagnosed… Read more »

Variant Interpretation with VSClinical: Evaluation of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

         July 9, 2019

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy History It was December 9th, 1989, when one of Loyola Marymount’s strongest inside players, Hank Gathers, collapsed during the middle of a collegiate level basketball game against UC Santa Barbara. Measuring in at 6’7” and weighing 210 pounds, Gathers was diagnosed with exercise-induced ventricular tachycardia, or in layman’s terms, an abnormal heartbeat. Even with the concerning nature of… Read more »

Variant Interpretation with VSClinical: Evaluation of an X-linked recessive mutation

         May 21, 2019

Overview VSClinical enables users to evaluate variants according to the ACMG guidelines in a high-throughput fashion and obtain consistent results and accurate variant interpretations. This feature is tightly integrated into our VarSeq platform as well, and when paired together, users can evaluate NGS data and obtain clinical reports all in one suite. Coupled with the ability to find novel or… Read more »

Top-Quality GWAS Analysis: Part V

         January 28, 2019

As our final part of the ‘Top-Quality GWAS Analysis’ blog series, we will be giving a summary of the values behind GWAS quality control and quality assessment. Performing GWAS can provide insight into the association of genetic variants with traits and complex disorders. Any novel insights into marker-phenotype associations need to be based on performing quality control steps. In this… Read more »

Top-Quality GWAS Analysis: Part III

         January 22, 2019

Sample Relatedness Pruning your data based on Linkage Disequilibrium (LD) values and filtering for sample “relatedness” are ideal quality assurance steps following the marker and sample quality filtering described in Part II of this blog series. The value of running an Identity by Decent estimation not only allows you to factor family relatedness in your samples but makes screening for… Read more »

Top-Quality GWAS Analysis: Part I

         January 16, 2019

Importance of Quality in Association Tests SVS is a research application platform provided by Golden Helix that enables an array of computational analyses including genome-wide association studies (GWAS). GWAS is an observational study that can provide insight into the association of genetic variants with traits and complex disorders. The foundation of GWAS utilizes large cohorts sequenced with single nucleotide polymorphisms… Read more »

Optimized Breeding Selection via Genomic Prediction

         December 11, 2018

What is Genomic Prediction? Genomic prediction is an algorithm widely used to improve desirable phenotypic traits in agriculture. For example, the cattle industry uses genomic prediction to improve beef quality and palatability as well as improve dairy production (1,2). By using genomic prediction, researchers can minimize multiple expenses in breeding industries as well as diminish the need for performing cumbersome… Read more »

VSClinical Best Practice Workflows: Part III

         November 20, 2018

This blog will conclude our VSClinical Best Practice Workflow series and focuses on one of our new reports: VSClinical ACMG Gene Panel Template. This template is valuable because it automatically enters your variant interpretation from the ACMG Guidelines into the report and eliminates the need for manual submission. I would like to explain how to properly implement this report into… Read more »

VSClinical Best Practice Workflows: Part II

         November 15, 2018

In part one of this series, we discussed how the ACMG Classifier can be implemented in your filter chain to support a best practice workflow. To continue our discussion on best practices of VSClinical, this blog will shed light on other attributes of VSClinical that can add support to your evaluation. Specifically, we will explore how VSClinical can help users… Read more »