Micro- and Nanotechnologies
Microdevices for high-throughput cellular and biomolecular profiling
While several methods exist for sampling tissues in clinical contexts, without high-fidelity tools for comprehensively profiling them, we are both limited in our capacity to understand how constituent cells and their interactions impact prognosis, and to select and develop precision therapeutics. Recent years have witnessed transformative and intersecting advances in nanofabrication and molecular biology that now enable deep profiling of low-input samples. Collectively, these afford new and exciting opportunities to study cellular heterogeneity, starting from the level of the single cell, and may unlock the diagnostic, prognostic, and discovery potential of clinical isolates. Illustratively, I will introduce how we can leverage single-cell genomic approaches – and, in particular, single-cell RNA-Seq – to explore the extensive functional diversity between cells, uncovering, from the “bottom-up,” distinct cell states and their molecular drivers. Moreover, I will discuss high-throughput experimental strategies and demonstrate how they can be leveraged to achieve the statistical power necessary to reconstruct intracellular circuits, enumerate and redefine cell states and types, and transform our understanding of cellular decision-making in health and disease on a genomic scale.