Gene function and regulation inside mammalian cells occurs spatially and temporally within the context of local microenvironment. Each individual cell is at a particular expression stage of gene activities which defines specific cellular functions/phenotypes such as cell growth, proliferation, and interactions with other cells. A comprehensive molecular characterization of individual cells will help uncover the structure and
dynamics of the cell lineage tree within a tissue/organ, in health and in disease, thus leading to a leapfrog advance in biology and medicine.
This talk will focus on some of the recent development of single cell transcriptome methodologies and their applications in cancer and stem cell research. The criteria for effective single-cell transcriptome analysis are (1) to be able to measure gene expression reliably and (2) to be able to profile a large number of individual cells cost-effectively. This talk will also discuss efforts toward the development of novel in-situ sequencing platforms that could carry out targeted expression analysis of 100s to 1000s of genes in millions of individual cells simultaneously, in either the tissue at a spatial resolution of single cell or a heterogeneous cell population in tissue culture.