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DNA Sequencing celebrates 21 years
Author: E Els
Published: 13/09/2018

The DNA Sequencing facility of the Central Analytical Facilities turned 21 this year and celebrated this milestone with colleagues and clients at a pleasant cocktail function at Stias.



Prof Gary Stevens, CAF director said “the real thing that we need to celebrate is the service that these people who run the facility have made to other people's research." He commended Carel van Heerden, manager of the facility from 1997, for the selfless task of helping other people with their research, helping others graduate their MSc's and PhD's for such a long time and encouraged him to aim for 42 years.

Prof Johan Burger, the academic head of the unit, shared memories from the early years and said that there was a lot of art and skill involved in making decent sequencing gels at that time. “And 21 years later, it would be fair to say that we now host one of certainly the oldest and very productive and comprehensive sequencing service suppliers in the African continent."

Carel thanked prof Warnich, prof Walters, prof Cherry and dr Peeters who started the unit and for their trust in him to make a success of it. He believes that a whole community helped the facility grow and is grateful to colleagues, suppliers and clients. “Please know that we appreciate the service that some of you have offered in the facility and the support that you have offered as clients of the facility."

The DNA Sequencing Unit started in 1997 in the JS Marais Building. In 2000 they moved to the Genetics Department in the JC Smuts Building. After 11 years at this location they moved to the Honours Lab in the Genetics Department before moving to their current location (Lab B102) in the JC Smuts Building in 2012.

Header Photo: Current DNA Sequencing staff members. Back: René Veikondis, Carel van Heerden, Alvera Vorster Front: Sinead Robberts, Annette Laten, Marianna Retief