Systematic Mapping of Cellular States and Regulatory Circuits
Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Chan School of Public Health
A multi-cellular organism contains diverse cell types, each specializing in distinct biological functions. The behavior of individual cells (aka cell states) also changes dynamically due to intrinsic and extrinsic variation. The maintenance of cell type identity and cell state dynamics is essential for normal physiology; disruption may lead to diseases or even embryonic death. In recent years, single-cell analysis has emerged as a powerful tool for systematic characterization of cellular heterogeneity, reconstructing developmental trajectories, and dissecting the complexity in human diseases. Both the intrinsic regulatory network and spatial environment are contributors of cellular identity and result in cell state variations. However, their individual contributions remain poorly understood. In this talk, I will present several methods our groups have developed for characterizing cellular states from single cell data. I will also talk about our work for understanding the gene regulatory mechanisms underlying cell-state maintenance and transitions and touch upon the issue of cell-environment interactions.