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Fluidigm, Genome Institute of Singapore Establish Single-cell Genomics Center

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Genome Institute of Singapore and Fluidigm today announced the creation of a single-cell genomics research center.

The GIS-Fluidigm Single-Cell 'Omics Center is the first research center in Asia exclusively focused on accelerating understanding into how individual cells work, as well as how diagnosis and treatment could be improved by research into single cells, GIS said.

The center will bring together molecular and cell biologists and provide them with genomics and genotypic data for use in evaluating biological pathways, disease mechanisms, and characterizing healthy and diseased tissues.

Single-cell analytics will be provided to drug discovery firms, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, academia, and clinics. The center "is targeted to provide single-cell infrastructure across Singapore and Asia that will engage various disciplines in an adaptive multisource platform," GIS said in a statement.

The center will be housed in dedicated laboratory space at GIS facilities in Biopolis and feature Fluidigm's C1 Single-Cell Auto Prep System and the BioMark HD System for gene expression analytics and validation. It also will have access to various next-generation sequencing capabilities.

One project being undertaken at the center will define early embryonic cellular state spaces using single-cell transcriptomics through mRNA sequencing. Led by GIS Senior Group Leader Paul Robson, the project seeks to define "a minimal set of signaling and regulatory genes capable of defining the attractor and transitional cellular states spaces in existence early in human development," GIS said.

Robson and Bing Lim, a senior group leader as well as associate director of cancer stem cell biology at GIS will oversee the initial projects being conducted at the center.

"With the creation of the [center], we assemble a strong multidisciplinary consortium of academia and industry, and an interdisciplinary team of senior scientists, engineers and informatics specialists with very deep knowledge and skills in analyzing cellomics and genomics information," Michael Rossboch, head of the GIS Office of Business Development, said in GIS's statement. "This will create a platform for information-sharing in a collaborative manner designed to deliver fast execution from concept to results."

Gajus Worthington, president and CEO of Fluidigm added, "The Single-Cell 'Omics Center is a major boost to the emerging, burgeoning field of single-cell analysis. … GIS has a track record of publishing breakthroughs based upon single-cell research, so this center can act as an accelerant for more new science. In addition, we expect the [center] will stimulate more single-cell genomics research throughout Asia."

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