The Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), an institute under the umbrella of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and Fluidigm Corporation (NASDAQ:FLDM) today announced the establishment of 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 SCOC will be a visionary academic-industry partnership designed to provide integrated analytics for single-cell genomic applications to the region's researchers. This interdisciplinary center will bring together molecular and cell biologists and provide them with genomics and genotypic data for their assessment of biological pathways, disease mechanisms and the characterization of healthy and diseased tissues.
The center will provide single-cell analytics across a diverse collection of stakeholders such as 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.
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 will be led by GIS Senior Group Leader Dr. Paul Robson. The measurement of the transcriptome at the single-cell level is the most accessible method to define cell states with digital gene expression patterns providing the state space coordinates. This project 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 feature the full capabilities of 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 NGS capabilities for sequencing.
GIS is one of the world's premier centers for human genetics studies, genomic discovery, and the pursuit of integrating technology, genetics and biology towards the goal of individualized medicine. Drs. Paul Robson and Bing Lim, GIS Senior Group Leader and Associate Director, Cancer Stem Cell Biology, will oversee the initial projects run through the SCOC.
GIS Executive Director Prof Ng Huck Hui said, "GIS has identified Single-Cell Genomics as one of our new research frontiers. We are set up to build a repertoire of new research capabilities for single-cell analyses. Our initial collaboration with Fluidigm has borne fruit with the publication of a landmark paper by Dr. Paul Robson. This larger and very important collaboration will see an even greater synergy between the technologies from GIS and Fluidigm."