Understanding and controlling cell differentiation using single-cell mass-spectrometry

18 May 2018

Nikolai Slavov
Department of Bioengineering
Northeastern University


For decades, scientists and physicians have used antibodies, fluorescent proteins, and MALDI-TOF to identify or quantify a few different proteins per cell. These methods have enabled new discoveries, and even spawned new fields, e.g., understanding the role of noise in gene expression. However, many pressing needs in medicine and transformative opportunities in biology demand qualifying 100 — 1000 fold more proteins; they demand an entirely different set of approaches and techniques. I will discuss the conceptual ideas enabling the emergence of such mass-spectrometry based technologies that promise quantifying thousands of proteins and proteoforms across thousands of single mammalian cells. These data motivate new analytical frameworks. I will discuss ideas for such frameworks that when applied to single cell proteomics data can contribute to understanding and controlling biological systems.

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