Helmut Strey, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Eric Brouzes, Research Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, have been awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant for their research proposal, “Microfluidics for Single Cell Genomics.” This grant will bring in approximately $450K during its two-year funding period, and complements the $97K bioscience technology development proposal they recently received from the Center for Biotechnology for their microfluidics technology.
“Our NIH research grant is funding the development of high-throughput microfluidics used to measure gene expression in single cells,” said Strey. “This new approach has the potential to revolutionize how gene expression analysis is done.”
“This research is a wonderful example of science and technology development at the convergence of biology and engineering, with terrific potential to improve our ability to identify those at risk of disease or the efficacy of new treatments,” said Clinton Rubin, Chair and Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Director of the Center for Biotechnology at Stony Brook University. “Helmut and Eric are at the cutting edge of biomedical diagnostics, and we are all very exciting about seeing this science translate to improve healthcare. This is great for Stony Brook, and great for New York.”
Current gene expression analysis techniques are often limited because they combine the gene expression data of large cell populations and therefore miss the critical gene information expressed in single cells. This new single cell gene expression analysis allows for a better understanding of the individual cellular components of different groups of cells (tumors, brain tissue, etc.) and how genes in individual cells play a role during stem cell differentiation.
This new approach can be used by both researchers and clinicians. For example, it can be used to identify a single circulating tumor cell out of a billion cells present in the blood. Such an approach could lead to methods for early cancer diagnostics and cancer treatment monitoring.