Caroline Ugoaru, a senior biology major at Howard University, optimized cellular barcodes used in single-cell sequencing.
Single-cell sequencing allows for high throughput analysis of many cells, decreasing the cost and time required for a large, comprehensive experiment.
The Broad is not only a cutting-edge research institution, but also a great environment to collaborate and learn from other scientists. The BSRP program helped me grow tremendously within the last nine weeks. It was a life-changing experience that gave me access to tools and resources to sharpen my scientific skills, network with and learn from experts in my field, and build lifelong bonds.For example, this technology can be used to analyze cellular heterogeneity within a tissue, such as a tumor. One way to obtain single-cell data is through droplet microfluidics. Single-cell transcriptomics has relied on droplet microfluidics, which utilizes barcoded beads to tag cellular RNA. This method enables successful pooling of millions of barcoded transcripts from single cells, thus allowing for a cost-effective way to prepare and sequence single-cell RNA. High-quality single-cell RNA-Seq data therefore relies on the quality and efficiency of barcodes to tag transcripts. Efficient barcodes are characterized by high barcode diversity between beads, barcode uniformity within bead, high RNA capture rate, and affordability. Commercially available barcoded beads rely on on-bead synthesis, which is fraught with errors. We hope to use pre-synthesized barcodes and split-pool ligation to improve the quality of functionally barcoded primers and therefore improve the quality and complexity of single cell RNA-Seq data.
Project: Optimization of single-cell sequencing
Mentors: Kaite Zhang and Vidya Subramanian, Eric Lander Lab