Chang Lu - Epigenomic profiling with ultralow-input microfluidic assays: technology, biology, and medicine
From Kathryn Gentilello on September 11th, 2018
Epigenome dictates turning on and off genes during normal development and diseases, forming another layer of regulation on top of gene sequence. Epigenome is cell-type-specific and highly dynamic over the course of disease and treatment thus offers a treasure trove of information for precision medicine. However, there is a giant gap between the number of cells that can be derived from patient samples and millions of cells per assay required by conventional epigenomic assays.
In this seminar, I will discuss the role of microfluidics in conducting genome-wide epigenetic analysis using scarce samples derived from mice and patients. I will argue that microfluidics uniquely facilitates multi-step molecular biology manipulation required by epigenomic assays and interface between the assays and next-generation sequencing. I will describe the microfluidic technologies developed in my lab for profiling histone modifications and DNA methylation. These technologies work in the 30-200 cells per assay range and offer data quality comparable to those of conventional assays that require millions of cells. I will also discuss the biological insights we generated into cancer development and brain functions.