​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) initiative aims to improve the identification and characterization of infectious diseases by increasing critical next generation sequencing (NGS) and bioinformatics capacities at CDC and at state and local health departments.

APHL works with CDC and other partners on both the implementation and use of NGS in public ​​​health laboratories. APHL works to address challenges laboratories may face including a changing landscape of workforce and laboratory needs as they expand their use of NGS for disease detection and surveillance. To this end, APHL continues to develop tools, resources, ​​and training, along with convening meetings and facilitating constant dialogue with leaders in the public health laboratory arena.  ​

NGS Quality Initiative

APHL and CDC's OAMD established the NGS Quality Initiative to develop a quality management system addressing many of the NGS challenges experienced by public health and clinical laboratories. APHL and CDC, together with state and local public health laboratories, are working to develop standard operating procedures and other NGS-based quality management tools that can be implemented within laboratories.

​Building the AMD Workforce

Bioinformatics ​​​Fellowship

APHL administers the APHL-CDC Bioinformatics Fellowship since its launch in 2013. The fellowship aims to train and prepare bioinformaticians to apply their expertise within public health and to design tools that will aid existing public health personnel in the use of bioinformatics. Check out APHL's webinar to see what projects the APHL-CDC Fellows have participated in.

Building Bioinformatics Capacity

Building Bioinformatics Capacity Through Academic Partnerships

The increase in public health applications of NGS has created new challenges, including additional demands for bioinformatics computing power. One potential solution is to build bioinformatics capabilities in a public health laboratory through partnerships with academic institutions. There are several success stories for sharing sequencing resources and specimen collections can improve both the capacity and efficiency of public health laboratories.

Hiring a Bioinformatician

In addition to partnerships, many laboratories are also hiring bioinformaticians. For many laboratories, this may be the first time a position like this has been created. The bioinformatician recruitment guide can be a useful resource for creating a position description and identifying the skills required for a person in this role.   

Training

APHL has created a webinar series that is available for free to state and local health department staff. Continuing education credits are available.

  1. Advanced Molecular Detection: Automation options for Next Generation Sequencing workflows 
  2. Communication Strategies for Laboratorians and Epidemiologists on NGS Data
  3. The Long and Short of Long-Read Sequencing
  4. Bioinformatics Learning Modules available on the APHL Training Portal: Introduction to Bioinformatics, Introduction to Genome Assembly, and Introduction to Phylogenetics

Accessing the APHL Training Portal for the first time:

  1. Navigate to the APHL Training Portal.
  2. Select Login, then Create an Account.

    Once you have a Training Portal Account:

    1. Navigate to the Catalog to view all available courses.
    2. Enroll in the Bioinformatics Series.

      ​​​AMD Bioinformatics Training Leads and Regional Resources

      Through the Epidemiology Laboratory Capacity (ELC) grant, using the PulseNet and ARLN regions, CDC OAMD has established regional bioinformatics resources and training leads. Each region has designated bioinformatics regional resource and training leads. In some cases, the same laboratory may serve as the bioinformatics regional resource and training lead. Training leads provide support and training for laboratories across the region on building their sequencing capacity.