Doctor of Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2015)
Master of Philosophy, University of Cambridge (2014)
William Greenleaf, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Single-cell transcriptomic analysis of the adult mouse spinal cord reveals molecular diversity of autonomic and skeletal motor neurons.
The spinal cord is a fascinating structure that is responsible for coordinating movement in vertebrates. Spinal motor neurons control muscle activity by transmitting signals from the spinal cord to diverse peripheral targets. In this study, we profiled 43,890 single-nucleus transcriptomes from the adult mouse spinal cord using fluorescence-activated nuclei sorting to enrich for motor neuron nuclei. We identified 16 sympathetic motor neuron clusters, which are distinguishable by spatial localization and expression of neuromodulatory signaling genes. We found surprising skeletal motor neuron heterogeneity in the adult spinal cord, including transcriptional differences that correlate with electrophysiologically and spatially distinct motor pools. We also provide evidence for a novel transcriptional subpopulation of skeletal motor neuron (gamma*). Collectively, these data provide a single-cell transcriptional atlas ( http://spinalcordatlas.org ) for investigating the organizing molecular logic of adult motor neuron diversity, as well as the cellular and molecular basis of motor neuron function in health and disease.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41593-020-00795-0
View details for PubMedID 33589834
Double emulsion flow cytometry with high-throughput single droplet isolation and nucleic acid recovery.
Lab on a chip
Droplet microfluidics has made large impacts in diverse areas such as enzyme evolution, chemical product screening, polymer engineering, and single-cell analysis. However, while droplet reactions have become increasingly sophisticated, phenotyping droplets by a fluorescent signal and sorting them to isolate individual variants-of-interest at high-throughput remains challenging. Here, we present sdDE-FACS (s[combining low line]ingle d[combining low line]roplet D[combining low line]ouble E[combining low line]mulsion-FACS), a new method that uses a standard flow cytometer to phenotype, select, and isolate individual double emulsion droplets of interest. Using a 130 mum nozzle at high sort frequency (12-14 kHz), we demonstrate detection of droplet fluorescence signals with a dynamic range spanning 5 orders of magnitude and robust post-sort recovery of intact double emulsion (DE) droplets using 2 commercially-available FACS instruments. We report the first demonstration of single double emulsion droplet isolation with post-sort recovery efficiencies >70%, equivalent to the capabilities of single-cell FACS. Finally, we establish complete downstream recovery of nucleic acids from single, sorted double emulsion droplets via qPCR with little to no cross-contamination. sdDE-FACS marries the full power of droplet microfluidics with flow cytometry to enable a variety of new droplet assays, including rare variant isolation and multiparameter single-cell analysis.
View details for DOI 10.1039/d0lc00261e
View details for PubMedID 32417874
Single-cell multiomic analysis identifies regulatory programs in mixed-phenotype acute leukemia.
Identifying the causes of human diseases requires deconvolution of abnormal molecular phenotypes spanning DNA accessibility, gene expression and protein abundance1-3. We present a single-cell framework that integrates highly multiplexed protein quantification, transcriptome profiling and analysis of chromatin accessibility. Using this approach, we establish a normal epigenetic baseline for healthy blood development, which we then use to deconvolve aberrant molecular features within blood from patients with mixed-phenotype acute leukemia4,5. Despite widespread epigenetic heterogeneity within the patient cohort, we observe common malignant signatures across patients as well as patient-specific regulatory features that are shared across phenotypic compartments of individual patients. Integrative analysis of transcriptomic and chromatin-accessibility maps identified 91,601 putative peak-to-gene linkages and transcription factors that regulate leukemia-specific genes, such as RUNX1-linked regulatory elements proximal to the marker gene CD69. These results demonstrate how integrative, multiomic analysis of single cells within the framework of normal development can reveal both distinct and shared molecular mechanisms of disease from patient samples.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41587-019-0332-7
View details for PubMedID 31792411
Chromatin accessibility and the regulatory epigenome.
Nature reviews. Genetics
Physical access to DNA is a highly dynamic property of chromatin that plays an essential role in establishing and maintaining cellular identity. The organization of accessible chromatin across the genome reflects a network of permissible physical interactions through which enhancers, promoters, insulators and chromatin-binding factors cooperatively regulate gene expression. This landscape of accessibility changes dynamically in response to both external stimuli and developmental cues, and emerging evidence suggests that homeostatic maintenance of accessibility is itself dynamically regulated through a competitive interplay between chromatin-binding factors and nucleosomes. In this Review, we examine how the accessible genome is measured and explore the role of transcription factors in initiating accessibility remodelling; our goal is to illustrate how chromatin accessibility defines regulatory elements within the genome and how these epigenetic features are dynamically established to control gene expression.
View details for PubMedID 30675018
High-throughput chromatin accessibility profiling at single-cell resolution.
2018; 9 (1): 3647
Here we develop a high-throughput single-cell ATAC-seq (assay for transposition of accessible chromatin) method to measure physical access to DNA in whole cells. Our approach integrates fluorescence imaging and addressable reagent deposition across a massively parallel (5184) nano-well array, yielding a nearly 20-fold improvement in throughput (up to ~1800 cells/chip, 4-5h on-chip processing time) and library preparationcost (~81 per cell) compared to prior microfluidic implementations. We apply this method to measure regulatory variation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and show robust, de novo clustering of single cells by hematopoietic cell type.
View details for PubMedID 30194434