Berkeley Lights and the Icahn Institute Collaborate on Single-Cell Genomics

December 10, 2015
Berkeley Lights and the Icahn Institute Collaborate on Single-Cell Genomics
Source: © Chrisharvey/Dreamstime.com

Berkeley Lights, which focuses on opto-nanofluidic biosystems, signed an agreement with the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at Mount Sinai that provides early access to Berkeley Lights’ instrumentation incorporating its OptoSelect™ light technology for single-cell annotation and genomics in research applications. Scientists at Mount Sinai say are using Berkeley Lights’ instruments to advance research into applications that will help to transform healthcare.

“The OptoSelect high-throughput method provides our team a single-cell manipulation platform for exploring otherwise unachievable applications in immunotherapy, single-cell genomics, diagnostics, and in-depth, accurate analysis of tissue heterogeneity,” said Robert Sebra, Ph.D., director of technology development at the Icahn Institute and assistant professor of genetics and genomic sciences.

Single-cell biology is a rapidly growing field within life sciences that is taking genomic testing to the next level. Biological samples consist of many types of cells in groups of tens of thousands of cells.  Berkeley Lights’ technology enables a new level of automation and precision for single-cell analysis research, according to Dr. Sebra. By accepting a broad spectrum of cell densities and isolating them in a nondestructive manner, the OptoSelect technology provides flexibility across a range of applications, including those that require selection or manipulation of low input to rare cell populations, he added. Small samples such as fine needle aspirates can reportedly now be sorted, annotated, and tested automatically and accurately. Biologists can now select the types of cells and number of cells to interrogate, which allows them to see genomic variations at the cellular level, allowing for the identification of the true drivers of a cell population.

“[The Mount Sinai team’s] vast expertise in the area of single-cell genomics is now being exercised on our instruments to generate fundamental knowledge and information that will help guide development of future diagnostic tests,” noted Igor Khandros, Ph.D., Berkeley Lights CEO and co-founder.  “Berkeley Lights is ushering in a new era of interactive biology that will lead to actionable understanding of diseases.”

“Berkeley Lights is the only available technology where you can truly ‘see’ numerous single, distinct cells, and monitor in real time each cell’s function during biochemistry or other manipulations,“ added Eric Schadt, Ph.D., the Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor of Genomics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and founding director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology.

The OptoSelect light technology automates tasks in research applications such as tumor profiling-morphology, surface markers, sequence and protein secretions of single cells from fine needle aspirates and other precious samples. BLI’s nanofluidic biosystems also enable the selection of rare single cells, such as circulating tumor cells, according to Dr. Khandros.

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