February 24, 2024

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Gene Expression Patterns Revealed in the U.S.

Medicine doctor working with modern computer interface as medical concept

Cells within a tissue or organ may appear very similar, if not identical. However, at the molecular level, these cells can have small differences that result in wide variations in their functions; this is the challenge addressed by US scientists, who develop and apply technologies such as single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq), which allows the researchers to analyse variations in gene expression patterns and determine how each cell contributes to the operation of a tissue.

“Single-cell RNA-sequencing is an incredibly powerful way to examine what cells are doing at a given moment. By looking at associations among the different mRNAs that cells express, we can identify really important features of a tissue-like what cells are present and what are those cells trying to do,” says Alex K. Shalek, an associate professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

While his research focuses on identifying small-scale differences, he hopes that it will have broader implications as he seeks to better understand globally important diseases like HIV, tuberculosis, and cancer.

Shalek has been driven to connect science to human health and understand what is happening in various diseases to develop better preventions and cures, thus, he’d notice differences in mRNA levels, or in protein expression or activity.

Instead of doing pooled sequencing of mRNA, he began to wonder if it would be worthwhile to study each individual cell within a system. During his postdoctoral fellowship, he worked to develop technologies for sequencing all the mRNA found in large groups of individual cells. This information can then be used to categorise cells into different types and reveal their current state.

Shalek now uses improvements he helped make to this approach in his lab at MIT to analyse various types of cells and tissues and study how their identities are shaped by their environments. His most recent research has focused on how cancer cell state influences chemotherapy response, the cellular targets of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the cell types involved in lactation, and the classification of T cells primed to generate inflammation during allergic reactions.

This work’s overarching theme is how cells maintain homeostasis or the constant state of physical and chemical conditions within living organisms. On the other hand, Shalek emphasised the importance of homeostasis because he knows that imbalances can lead to autoimmune diseases and immunodeficiencies, as well as cancer growth. He wants to define what balance is at the cellular level, how to maintain balance, and how various environmental factors such as exposure to different infections or diets alter that balance.

Shalek expressed gratitude for the numerous opportunities he must collaborate with other researchers at MIT and in other areas, in addition to his many international collaborators. As he works on human disease problems, he ensures that the next generation of scientists receives the same training and mentoring that he did as a graduate student and postdoc.

He stated that his experience taught him the importance of supporting and empowering scientists, as well as trying to uplift the community, and he acknowledges that a large part of his success is due to people who assist him. “If you put together the collective brain trust of this community, as well as partner with people all around the world, you can do incredible things.”

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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