Olink Explore platform available through the SciLifeLab Explore Lab at the Biomedical Centre (BMC) in Uppsala

In a collaboration with the Uppsala based biotechnology company Olink Proteomics AB, the SciLifeLab National Genomics Infrastructure (NGI) and the Affinity Proteomics Uppsala unit (APU) at SciLifeLab Clinical Proteomics and Immunology platform, have made the Olink Explore platform available to Swedish and international researchers through the SciLifeLab Explore Lab at the Biomedical Centre (BMC) in Uppsala.

By combining Olink’s proximity extension assay (PEA) with a high-throughput next generation sequencing (NGS) readout on the Illumina NovaSeq platform, close to 1500 proteins can now be measured simultaneously in only a few microliters of fluid and a 3000-plex panel is expected later this year.

Precision medicine is a new frontier for healthcare aiming to give the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. Each cell in a person’s body contains the same set of DNA and whereas the genome is static, each person has highly personalized, constantly changing levels of proteins that provide meaningful insights into his or her state of health and wellness at any specific time.

These same protein levels also help individuals rapidly determine whether interventions to improve their state of health are working or not. By adding a large-scale proteomics method, such as Olink Explore, to the different -omics that make up the toolbox for precision medicine, the hope is that an individual-based definition of health comes closer to everyday life.

The Olink Explore platform evolved from Olink’s proven concept of qPCR-based panels, which have been an important method used for protein biomarker discovery in a variety of biofluids and disease studies.

“The launch of Olink Explore reagent kits allows laboratories throughout the world to set up the Olink platform and provide additional analysis capacity to many more researchers than ever before. This will further democratize the use of Olink in line with our mission to accelerate proteomics together with the scientific community. The SciLifeLab laboratory in Uppsala is our first EMEA laboratory to adopt Explore, demonstrating the importance of academic partners in pioneering the establishment of new technologies. We are proud to be the selected partner”, says Olink CEO Jon Heimer.

The PEA technology is based on two matching antibodies binding to a protein. When the DNA tags from the two antibodies come into contact/proximity, the tags hybridize and are extended making a unique DNA barcode for each analyzed protein. After amplification, digital DNA counting is performed using NGS and the resulting counts represent the concentration of the protein in the sample. Albeit a new type of readout, the specificity, sensitivity, precision and dynamic range are maintained from the qPCR-based PEA system.

This project has been made possible by grants from SciLifeLab and the Swedish Research Council’s Access to Infrastructure and by building a new joint-capability lab between NGI and APU. The SciLifeLab Explore lab is the first certified core lab in Europe to offer the Olink Explore platform.

“We are proud that SciLifeLab will be the first certified service provider offering this technology for the Swedish research community and believe this is a first step enabling integrated multi-omics analyses in precision medicine” says SciLifeLab Scientific Director Staffan Svärd (Uppsala University, UU).

The project’s main applicant SciLifeLab researcher Ulf Gyllensten (UU) continues:

“We believe that an entity like SciLifeLab really can contribute to the concept of precision medicine in many ways and we feel confident that the SciLifeLab Explore lab will deliver important results to users working with different medical issues. By combining the phenotype data with data from the human genome we can find and define new biomarkers. Since the sequencing is already in place at NGI, we will now aim to develop methods for simultaneous large-scale analysis of protein, DNA, and RNA.”

Potential users are encouraged to contact the SciLifeLab Explore lab via, with questions regarding potential Olink Explore projects.

Read the press release from Olink

Johanna Svensson (UU), Johanna Manninnen (UU), Torbjörn Öst (UU) and Jon Ramsell (UU)


Last updated: 2021-05-04

Content Responsible: Johan Inganni(