SCODA - Boreal Genomics Inc.

As a result of his research interests in electrophoretic particle-based systems, Lorne Whitehead invented a technique known as SCODA, which stands for Synchronous Coefficient of Drag Alteration. This technique achieves multidimensional electrophoresis in alternating electric fields, based on temporal alteration of the coefficient of drag in synchronization with the AC field.

SCODA can be used to concentrate and transport charged particles in one, two, or three dimensions, eliminate electrochemistry problems at electrodes, and may enable new techniques for efficiently separating molecules with different electrophoretic mobilities.

As part of this field of investigation, Lorne mathematically devised an electric field configuration to exploit a non-linear behaviour in DNA molecules, which would enable DNA to be concentrated in a very efficient manner. Dr. Andre Marziali and his group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UBC demonstrated this experimentally and since then have been actively studying the use of SCODA for DNA concentration and other biochemical purification processes. It is felt that the SCODA technique has substantial commercial opportunities in a number of exciting and diverse applications. UBC launched a spin-off company, Boreal Genomics, to commercialize the DNA concentration technology.