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Biological Chemistry

NIH Aims To Advance Single-Cell Analysis

by Britt E. Erickson
October 22, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 43

NIH plans to award $90 million over five years to support 26 research grants as part of its Single Cell Analysis Program. The goal of the program is to understand disease mechanisms at the cellular level and ultimately develop new medical treatments based on that knowledge. “The development of new technologies that can detect differences between individual cells within the same tissue is crucial to our understanding of a wide variety of diseases,” says NIH Director Francis S. Collins. Research projects that will receive support under the initiative include identifying gene expression patterns in individual cells and understanding the functional consequences of such variations, developing new tools for single-cell analysis, and translating new single-cell analysis methods into clinical and research settings. Novel methods include high-resolution imaging for measuring physical properties of individual cells, biosensors to visualize protein activity in single cells, and innovative platforms for detecting secretions from single cells. Support for the program is provided by NIH’s Common Fund, which encourages cross-agency activities.

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