7.9 million awarded in 2014 by NIH Single Cell Analysis Program

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7.9 million awarded in 2014 by NIH Single Cell Analysis Program

Author: Sherry Ward, AltTox

Today’s NIH news release, “Seeking single cells’ secrets” (http://www.nih.gov/news/health/dec2014/nimh-30.htm), describes grants awarded in 2014 supported by the NIH Common Fund’s Single Cell Analysis Program (SCAP) (http://commonfund.nih.gov/Singlecell/index).

The funded research topics were summarized in the news release as follows:

One group of projects is validating and refining already established technologies for studying the biological properties of single cells:
• Modeling how tissue properties of cells emerge during development
• Detecting genetic changes in live animals
• Manipulating cells with submicron precision
• Tracking fat metabolism using millisecond technology
• Detecting the tiniest genetic variation
• Discovering how cells renew themselves and differentiate as they develop
• Profiling gene expression in a cell’s nucleus to identify early protein signatures
• Optimizing “disease-in-a-dish” analysis

One group of grants is pioneering exceptionally innovative new technologies:
• A genetic imaging tool to label vast numbers of cell lineages
• Microsecond spectroscopy to repetitively assess a single cell in a living organism
• A high definition cell “printer” based on precise fluid mechanics, robotics and microscopy
• Optically guided technology to identify cell types that give rise to different tissues
• Light-induced cellular gene changes in a live vertebrate animal
• Gene expression sensors that report out changes among cells in living tissue
• Real-time, micro-level scans tracking a transplanted cell in a live mouse
• Spectrometry so sensitive that even subcellular components can be chemically analyzed

And one group of grants adds a single cell component to already active projects:
• How a key immune cell can be either an acute defender or a memory cell
• How a mouth bacterium can cause minor irritation or aggressive periodontal disease
• Tracking environmentally triggered changes in a gene in a formative human cell
• Characterizing how micro-level gene expression changes in a cancer cell suppress tumors
• How a gene regulator exerts effects on different classes of target genes
• Genetic mechanisms by which intestinal lining cells are regenerated
• Targeted genetic alteration of a key cellular process by which genes are switched off
• Characterizing the workings of immune cells that target leukemia
• Genetics of a disease-in-a-dish disease model derived from a type of heart cell

Further information on the 25 funded grants is available on this page: http://commonfund.nih.gov/singlecell/fundedresearch