"Optochemistry" for Single-Cell Biology
Our lab applies the power of single cell sequencing and analysis to cancer research. We focus on the robust identification and accurate isolation of rare, heterogeneous and dynamically changing tumor-driving cancer cells and apply optogenetics and single cell sequencing to investigate tumorigenesis at the single cell level.
Single cell technology is suitable to analyze rare, heterogeneous and dynamically changing cells such as cancer stem cells (CSCs), but standard cell identification and isolation protocols based on static fluorescence are often not compatible with the reality of cancer research, where we might lack clear genetic markers for cells of interest.
We develop single cell identification assays based on time-resolved, quantitative measurements of dynamic variables. We create isolation techniques that allow cell selection based on complex, time-varying and multidimensional parameters. We perform single cell next-generation sequencing (NGS) on cells of interest to relate phenotypic information to genetic, transcriptomic and proteomic profiles. We combine advanced optical techniques and photochemistry to target perturbations and analysis protocols to individual cells within complex cultures or tissues.
Developing tools with a mix of microscopy, image processing, genetic engineering, NGS and photochemistry gives us access to all stages of single cell research. We apply the tools we develop to investigate the formation of neoplastic cancer stem cells, tumorigenesis, and the DNA-damage Response.