Towards quantifying the activity of all genes in each cell of our body

Over the past decades it has become clear that changes in gene expression not only drive the development of an embryo to an adult animal but that these changes also key in understanding diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration, and metabolic malfunction. Methods to quantify gene expression on a genome-wide scale have been developed with great success over the past 20 years. However, almost all of these methods require large input material and therefore can only be used to study gene expression averaged over many (potentially different) cells. In recent years, miniaturizations of sequencing reactions are leading to a revolution. Microfluidics devices coupled with nontechnology enable the inexpensive quantification of the activity of thousands of different genes in each of thousands of individual cells within a few minutes of runtime. In my lecture, I will explain the principles of these methods, show data from our lab where we apply and optimize this method, and comment on applications. I will also specifically comment on the unprecedented challenges that these data pose for data analyses and the urgent need of interdisciplinary education and collaborations to exploit the enormous potentials of these new technologies. 12 April, 15.00 p.m. Aula Magna Anatomia  

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