The UMGC has recognized a need among our users for support that goes beyond our traditional service model (“DNA/RNA-in, Data-out”). With hundreds of next-generation sequencing methods in use, including single-cell and spatial genomics techniques that do not start with purified nucleic acid, many of our users now require something new: 1) direct access to genomic instrumentation to perform their own bespoke NGS workflows and 2) training in basic and specialized methods to help them do so.

The UMGC CoLab is our answer to that gap. It is an initiative to provide co-working space with shared access to our lab and instruments, and training in genomic methods. The CoLab lowers the barrier to sophisticated instruments and workflows, giving researchers greater flexibility with experimental design and project turnaround. 

The CoLab is located within the UMGC’s CCRB facility and features dedicated, fully equipped lab benches for individual use and 1,000 square feet of amenities, standard equipment, specialized instrumentation, and freezer storage. Altogether, UMGC staff have decades of technical experience and extensive knowledge of instrumentation and workflows to share. Training and bench space access are provided at no cost to UMN researchers. 

CoLab goals

  • Democratize genomics by making specialized, cutting-edge instruments and companion equipment accessible to a broader range of UMN researchers. 
  • Structured, hands-on training for genomics-based approaches, emphasizing single-cell and spatialomic workflows.
  • Permit work to continue outside of regular UMGC working hours when required (CoLab accessible 24/7).
  • Foster a collaborative research environment by creating a lab where serendipitous interactions can occur.

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Benefits to Researchers

Build your skills: the CoLab will offer a range of training modules, from basic library QC to complete single-cell genomics experiments.

Access to expertise: CoLab managers and staff will share the experience they have gained performing 20,000 genomics projects over the past 15 years.

Work when you want: Trained researchers will have secure Ucard access to the CoLab, enabling 24/7 access on any day, including weekends and holidays. 

On-site QC and sequencing services: With the UMGC in-house, researchers have access to our catalog of services and can readily submit libraries prepared in the CoLAB for QC and sequencing. 

Focus on science: The UMGC will provide operational support by maintaining service contracts, instrument maintenance and calibration, and ordering general supplies. 


CoLab is located at 1-210 Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building (2231 6th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455) on the East Bank of the University of Minnesota. 

Additional location details:

  • Building access: A Ucard is needed to enter the CCRB building. 
  • Lab location: Using the main CCRB entrance, the 1-210 CCRB lab is the first hallway on the left and the second door on the left.


  • Aaron Becker, CoLab Manager
  • Fernanda Rodriguez, Ph.D., Spatial Lead Trainer
  • Ray Watson, Single Cell Lead Trainer
  • Darrell Johnson, QS5 Lead Trainer


New users will begin with an orientation to the CoLab and can schedule an orientation time here. If you have general questions about the CoLab and training, contact Aaron Becker, the CoLab Lead, at