Last week on October 23, 2013, during the annual conference of the American Society of Human Genetics in Boston MA, which gathered almost seven thousand researchers dedicated to study the genetics of human diseases, Dr. Andrzej "Andre" Pietrzykowski was one of the five recipients of the Innovation Grant in the Digital PCR Application Award organized by Life Technologies.

Dr. Pietrzykowski was the only awardee from the U.S., and the only one who delivered a talk, titled: “Tapping into precursors – how to uncover alcohol effects on microRNA biogenesis using digital PCR” during the special seminar. Dr. Pietrzykowski is planning to use his award (a QuantStudio 3D Digital PCR System, estimated retail value - $30,000) to further his research on the role of microRNA in the development of alcoholism to improve the diagnostic and treatment options for people suffering from this debilitating disease.

Since the development of PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) by Kary Mullis (1993 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry), PCR methodology has undergone many improvements, with digital PCR being the most advanced. Digital PCR provides unparalleled accuracy and precision enabling for single-cell level measurements of nucleic acids. Digital PCR has many applications in genetic diseases, cancer, environmental stress and others. It is important for emerging fields of personal genomics, predictive and precision medicine.