Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Round 10 - 2020

Bo Wang, Bioengineering
Sindy Tang, Mechanical Engineering

Tissue function requires coordination of many cells distributed in space. The activity of these cells is encoded in the sequence and physical structures of their individual genomes, which can undergo dynamic alterations in the lifetime of an animal. How spatial relationships between genetically distinct cells may influence their interactions and tissue functions as a whole remains largely unknown, primarily due to the lack of technology to perform genome sequencing while retaining the information about where the sequenced genomes originate in space. We propose a massively parallel microfluidic approach, micro-tissue dicer (“μDicer”), to extract tissues for multi-modal genome sequencing with high spatial resolution. The studies are enabled by the recent technological advances made in our research and a new collaboration to integrate the Wang lab’s expertise in functional genomic analysis and the Tang lab’s microfluidic technology. The anticipated outcome is the first generation of a spatially resolved genome sequencing method. Enabled by this new technology, we will begin to reconstruct spatial maps of dynamic genomes as they mutate, rearrange, and repack during processes that are vital to tissue function, such as regeneration and aging.