Axiom Area lately introduced plans for its second Worldwide Area Station mission, to be led by astronaut Peggy Whitson and mission pilot John Shoffner. As a part of the mission, Peggy and John will conduct life science analysis in orbit utilizing expertise developed by 10x Genomics.
Expertise Networks spoke with Dr. Ben Hindson, co-founder and chief scientific officer of 10x Genomics, to be taught extra concerning the single-cell expertise powering this analysis and the way it is going to be tailored to be used in area. On this interview, Dr. Hindson additionally discusses a few of 10x Genomics’ current developments in spatial gene expression analyses and the way they might assist propel analysis in human well being and illness.
Anna MacDonald (AM): What are a few of the predominant challenges related to conducting single-cell analyses in area?
Ben Hindson (BH): We’re very early within the course of right here, however we want to see what organic data we will uncover by analyzing single cells in orbit. Our single-cell sequencing merchandise are utilized by all the highest 100 analysis amenities all over the world, and we’re working to make sure that researchers in area have the identical highly effective capabilities to assist reply questions corresponding to how people reside in area long-term.
The Axiom area mission is scheduled for the second half of 2022 – so in the course of the time main as much as launch, we’re working with Axiom to grasp the challenges with this sort of analysis in area and growing options that may assist astronauts like Peggy Whitson, who skilled as a biochemist and has even carried out PCR experiments in area, simply navigate doing new analysis in area.
AM: How will terrestrial single-cell genomic strategies be tailored to be used in area? Has 10x Genomics developed any options particularly for this use?
BH: We’re actually early right here and hope to have extra readability as we work extra intently with the Axiom staff. We see this as step one in organic analysis on the single cell stage in area. We’re other ways to method the analysis, together with amassing samples in area, chemically fixing them in area, and working analyses again on earth. Basically, we wish to discover out what works and what doesn’t in order that we will engineer methods to enhance analyses of modifications in cells, with out worrying about logistics.
We see this exploration as a technique to be taught extra concerning the human physique in area, microgravity, and on earth.
AM: Are you able to inform us extra about how the expertise shall be used in the course of the Axiom Area mission?
BH: We haven’t accomplished defining the precise initiatives but, however research on osteoporosis and human longevity are areas we’re actively pondering of investigating. For instance, we’re contemplating testing single-cell analyses strategies whereas in microgravity and learning gene expression to grasp how bone density is affected by gravity for instance.
AM: What benefits do single-cell applied sciences convey to scientists and their analysis?
BH: Our our bodies are made up of 40 trillion cells, every with an immensely advanced genome, proteome, and interactome that governs quadrillions of molecules in every kind of intricate and sophisticated methods. To handle this complexity, we should measure biology on a large scale and on the proper stage of decision, of people cells, molecules and their interactions.
That is what single-cell applied sciences may help with. Our single-cell merchandise can allow high-throughput evaluation of particular person organic elements as much as tens of millions of single cells. With these applied sciences, we try to enhance the dimensions and determination of research. This may help speed up discoveries in analysis areas that require high-throughput single-cell functions, together with drug and CRISPR screens, large-scale translational research, cell mapping, antibody discovery, and biomarker identification.
A number of examples are:
Human Cell Atlas: The mission right here is to make use of single-cell sequencing to create a complete reference map of all human cells as a foundation for understanding human well being, and diagnosing, monitoring and treating illnesses.
Cystic fibrosis: Utilizing our single-cell applied sciences, researchers have recognized and characterised a brand new cell kind within the lung, the pulmonary ionocyte, that leads to the attribute respiratory signs of cystic fibrosis.
Life extension: Researchers at Keio College in Tokyo used our single-cell instruments to exhibit that individuals who reside to be 110 or older have a distinct immune profile than regularly-aged folks.
AM: Are you able to inform us extra about 10x Genomics’ current developments in spatial gene expression analyses?
BH: We launched our Visium Spatial Gene Expression platform in 2019. We’ve seen an thrilling quantity of uptake of this expertise, with over 100 publications and preprints, as researchers look to grasp how gene expression varies whereas sustaining the context of the tissue itself. We lately launched an extension of the Visium platform that’s appropriate with FFPE (formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues). FFPE is the most typical type of pattern preservation for scientific samples, so this opens up the expertise to be used with a large variety of specimens which are saved in biobanks and clinics all over the world.
AM: How can the power to conduct spatial analyses in preserved tissue assist propel analysis in human well being and illness?
BH: We see researchers who’ve collected cohorts of samples which are particular to the illness that they research, whether or not it is a particular type of most cancers, a neurodegenerative illness, or an inflammatory dysfunction. Typically, since these samples had been collected throughout scientific care, they’re additionally paired with scientific knowledge. Researchers are excited to return to those pattern cohorts and pair wealthy spatial transcriptomic knowledge with what they know clinically to grasp what drives illness development and determine promising new therapeutic targets.
Dr. Ben Hindson was talking to Anna MacDonald, science author for Expertise Networks.