The Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and Fluidigm say they have established the first research center in Asia exclusively dedicated to accelerating the understanding of how individual cells work, and how diagnosis and treatment might be enhanced through insight derived from single cells. The GIS-Fluidigm Single-Cell ‘Omics Center (SCOC) is expected to act as a focal point for collaborative efforts among single-cell genomics researchers across the region.
“The Single-Cell ‘Omics Center is a major boost to the emerging, burgeoning field of single-cell analysis and we are thrilled to be part of it together with GIS,” said Gajus Worthington, president and CEO of Fluidigm. “GIS has a track record of publishing breakthroughs based upon single-cell research, so this center can act as an accelerant for more new science. In addition, we expect the SCOC will stimulate more single-cell genomics research throughout Asia.”
The center will provide single-cell analytics for drug discovery firms, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, academia, and clinics. The SCOC is targeted to provide single-cell infrastructure across Singapore and Asia that will engage various disciplines in an adaptive multi-source platform, explains a GIS officials.
An example of one of the early projects that the SCOC will tackle is defining early embryonic cellular state spaces using single-cell transcriptomics through mRNA sequencing. This project, which will be led by Paul Robson, Ph.D., GIS senior group leader, aims to define a minimal set of signaling and regulatory genes capable of defining the attractor and transitional cellular states spaces in existence early in human development.
The SCOC will be housed in dedicated laboratory space at GIS facilities in Biopolis, Singapore. It will utilize Fluidigm’s new C1™ Single-Cell Auto Prep System and the Fluidigm BioMark™ HD System for gene expression analytics and validation. In addition, the center will have access to various next-generation sequencing capabilities. Fluidigm equipment is currently being installed at the center, and first projects are underway.
“With the creation of the SCOC, we assemble a strong multidisciplinary consortium of academia and industry, and an interdisciplinary team of senior scientists, engineers, and informatics specialists with very deep knowledge and skills in analyzing cellomics and genomics information,” noted Michael Rossbach, Ph.D., head of the GIS office of business development. “This will create a platform for information-sharing in a collaborative manner designed to deliver fast execution from concept to results.”
The SCOC operates under the umbrella of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), which is the lead organization for fostering scientific research for Singapore. A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and six consortia and centers.
Last May Fluidigm launched a new research center at the Cambridge, MA-based Broad Institute. That center, which also is dedicated to accelerating the development of research methods and discoveries in mammalian single-cell genomics, will feature a complete suite of Fluidigm single-cell tools, protocols, and technologies, including the BioMark HD system. The center grew out of ongoing collaborations between the Broad Institute and Fluidigm that bridge multiple genomic platforms.