SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—Fluidigm Corporation has announced a formal collaboration between itself, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute to speed the development of new methods for the analysis of single-cell genomics data. The collaborators will also seek to make single-cell research more accessible to the broader research community through the development and circulation of new workflows, bioinformatics tools and data sets. The Single Cell Genomics Centre (SCGC) on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus will work with onsite Fluidigm staff to make certain that the center has early access to the latest equipment, workflows and methods for research in genomics and proteomics.
“Our work with the SCGC is about co-creating a solid foundation for a revolution in biological understanding that will come from single-cell analysis,” Robert C. Jones, executive vice president of Research and Development for Fluidigm, commented in a statement. “Together, we can build better informatics tools to extract relevant biology from the massive amounts of single-cell RNA expression data that our systems generate. We’ll also find innovative ways to determine the DNA, protein, RNA, and epigenetic state of each cell and to scale the process up to perform across thousands and millions of cells.”
Fluidigm and founding members of the SCGC have worked together before, a relationship that this collaboration builds off of. Dr. Sarah Teichmann, of EMBL-EBI and the Sanger Institute, and her group used mRNA-seq data from single cells prepared by Fluidigm technology to discover that immune cells produce steroids to regulate themselves.
“Because we have early access to the most advanced technology, we can develop new experimental and computational methods that help us understand what is happening in each of our cells, at different points in the cell cycle,” Teichmann said in a press release. “This is really a new frontier – we hope the work we do will help the technology mature more quickly, so that it can help more people find answers to complex biological questions.”
This collaboration comes almost exactly one month after Fluidigm announced a new workflow enabling high-throughput single-cell mRNA sequencing, of which Fluidigm expects to make a full commercial version available in the first half of next year. The new workflow features breakthroughs in integrated fluidic circuit design to allow for the capture and processing of up to 750 single cells per run, as well as barcoding on the IFC, sample pooling to decrease hands-on time, an optimized reagent kit, validated scripts to automate cell processing and a demultiplex pipeline plug-in.
This workflow relates to the C1 Single-Cell Auto Prep System, which is based on Fluidigm's microfluidic technology and allows researchers to rapidly isolate, process and profile individual cells for genomic analysis.