Space Race: 10x CEO Serge Saxonov Discusses Single Cell and Spatial Biology on “Close to the Edge”

Over the past decade, single-cell biology and spatial biology have revolutionized how researchers understand biological processes. Single cell has made, according to an editorial in Molecular Systems Biology, important contributions to our understanding of cell types, cell states, cell–cell interactions, and tissue architecture—while spatial biology also promises to transform biology and especially pathology by measuring physical tissue structure and molecular characteristics at the same time, as a recent review article in Science has noted.

Playing leading roles in the development of both technologies have been 10x Genomics and its co-founder and CEO, Serge Saxonov, PhD, who discusses his career in genomics and science on GEN’s Close to the Edge.

After discussing how he developed a lifelong interest in genomics and science, Saxonov shares how as founding architect and director of R&D at 23andMe, he defined the initial conception of its product, built many elements of the technology, and drove strategy and execution of R&D functions as the direct-to-consumer genetic testing company scaled.

As VP of applications at QuantaLife, which Bio-Rad acquired in 2011 for $162 million, Saxonov was responsible for building content, driving new applications, and identifying key diagnostics opportunities for the core droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) technology.

In 2012, Serge co-founded 10x Genomics with Ben Hindson and Kevin Ness. As the company’s CEO, Saxonov defined 10x’s vision and strategy, contributed to core inventions, and has led the company since its inception. In 2016, Saxonov was honored as one of Goldman Sachs’ 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of the Year.


Alex Philippidis is senior business editor of GEN. Jonathan Grinstein, PhD, is senior editor of GEN.