Clinical OMICS

MAY-JUN 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 27 of 51

26 Clinical OMICs May/June 2018 Camille Mojica Rey Contributing Editor U ntil recently, scientists studying multicellular organisms at the cellular level had one big problem: their techniques did not allow them to account for cell- to-cell variation. That's because the technology required the use of bulk tissue samples and results could only be interpreted as an average of the cells in a sample. But today, due to advances in analytic methods developed over the past 10 years, sci- entists routinely conduct research of individual cells. "Single-cell analysis is transforming how scientists study biological systems," said Alex Shalek, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry at MIT's Institute for Medical Engineering & Science. "The cell is the fundamental unit of biology and, thanks to recent advances, we can now comprehensively profile a cell's contents, its entire tran- scriptome," said Shalek, whose lab focuses on developing innovative technologies. Single-cell analysis is empowering discovery by removing the need to a priori select the most important variables, thus eliminating bias. "I wouldn't be surprised if sin- gle-cell approaches evolve to become the de facto standard for characterizing all bio- logical specimens," he added. Single-cell Sequencing Techniques are Providing Significant Advances Across a Broad Swath of Fields Resolution Revolution A ALFRED PASIEKA/ SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

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