Long-term single-cell quantification: New tools for old questions
Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zurich, Basel, Switzerland
Despite intensive research, surprisingly many long-standing questions in cell research remain disputed. One major reason is the fact that we usually analyze only populations of cells - rather than individual cells – and at very few time points of an experiment – rather than continuously. We therefore develop imaging systems and software to image, segment and track cells long-term, and to quantify e.g. divisional history, position, interaction, and protein expression or activity of all individual cells over many generations. Dedicated software, machine learning and computational modeling enable data acquisition, curation and analysis. Custom-made microfluidics devices improve cell observation, dynamic manipulation and molecular analysis. The resulting continuous single-cell data is used for analyzing the dynamics, interplay and functions of signaling pathway and transcription factor networks in controlling hematopoietic, pluripotent, skeletal and neural stem cell fate decisions.