Sequencing Complete: A Visit to UCLA’s SwabSeq Lab

Faculty and Staff
Chancellor Gene Block tours the COVID-19 testing facilities, as processes automate and capacity expands.


For UCLA, with a community of more than 80,000 students, faculty and staff, offering accurate and quick COVID-19 testing has been a critical part of campus operations during the pandemic.

When it became operational in October 2020, the UCLA SwabSeq Lab began testing about 1,000 samples every week for COVID-19. During peak times of the year — such as campus housing move-in week in mid-September or the current omicron surge — the lab processes up to 50,000 samples a week.

On Nov. 29, Chancellor Gene Block and other campus leaders took a tour of the lab’s facilities and saw firsthand what goes into its vitally important work. Leading the tour was Rachel Young, laboratory supervisor and clinical laboratory scientist for the COVID-19 SwabSeq lab. Also on hand to talk the visitors through the lab were Valerie Arboleda M.D. ’14, Ph.D. ’14, assistant professor of pathology and human genetics; Joshua Bloom ’06, a research scientist in human genetics and an adjunct assistant professor in computational biology; and Eleazar Eskin, chair of computational medicine, a department affiliated with both UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

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