Program Goals and Initiatives
The overall goal of the Single Cell Analysis Program is to accelerate the discovery, development and translation of cross-cutting, innovative approaches to analyzing the heterogeneity of biologically relevant populations of cells in situ. Specifically, the program is:
- Addressing key roadblocks in analyzing single cells by supporting cross-cutting, transformative research
- Catalyzing the emerging field of single cell research through a synergistic program of unique initiatives
- Coordinating NIH efforts in advancing the next-generation of technologies for single cell analysis which will improve our ability to characterize cells and understand the biological significance of heterogeneity
In support of these overarching goals, the program is composed of multiple initiatives.
STUDIES TO EVALUATE CELLULAR HETEROGENEITY USING TRANSCRIPTIONAL PROFILING OF SINGLE CELLS
The first initiative focuses on evaluating cellular heterogeneity, and aims to develop a collaborative program of study to evaluate transcriptional profiles of single human cells derived from a mixed population in a variety of tissue types; classify cell types and cell states based on transcriptional signatures; develop novel analytical tools to evaluate cell heterogeneity using transcriptional endpoints; define technical obstacles and develop novel approaches to alleviate hurdles.
EXCEPTIONALLY INNOVATIVE TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR SINGLE CELL ANALYSIS
The second initiative supports exploratory projects that establish feasibility for high-impact concepts which have the potential to transform single cell analysis, and validate and disseminate exceptionally innovative tools for single cell analysis.
ACCELERATING THE INTEGRATION AND TRANSLATION OF TECHNOLOGIES TO CHARACTERIZE BIOLOGICAL PROCESSES AT THE SINGLE CELL LEVEL
The third initiative emphasizes supporting the validation and translation of innovative tools and novel capabilities for single cell analysis, and developing a broad range of technological solutions that will offer substantial benefits to end users.
SINGLE CELL ANALYSIS WORKSHOPS AND MEETINGS
The program hosts annual workshops and meetings with the goals of disseminating current research findings in single cell analysis; discussing and overcoming roadblocks in order to gain a deeper understanding of the significance of cell level heterogeneity; identifying new emerging challenges in single cell analysis and potential technological solutions; and building synergy between the projects supported by this initiative and other projects funded by NIH. These meetings serve as opportunities to foster communication and network among multidisciplinary investigators.
Additional information on past meetings is available at MEETINGS.
SINGLE CELL ANALYSIS CHALLENGE
Through the Follow that Cell challenge, the program strives to highlight and address key roadblocks and opportunities in single cell analysis, as well as attract new approaches and researchers to the field. Phase 1 of the challenge sought robust novel methods for analysis of individual cells to detect and assess changes in cell behavior and function over time, either as a result of natural state changes or when perturebd. Phase 2, Reduction to Practice, is under way with submissions due March 20, 2017.