Single cell technologies are becoming increasingly important tools in biological analysis. Complementing average measurements on bulk populations of cells, single-cell measurements provide a finer-grained picture of complex biology and unmask heterogeneity that is present in tissues. With the increasing sophistication of microfluidics, electrophysiology measurements, high-resolution imaging, deep sequencing and mass spectrometry platforms, a more detailed picture of cellular subtype, physical location in tissue, and clonal evolution is emerging. Moreover, the exquisite sensitivity of these approaches is enabling the identification of rare cells of potential functional or pathogenic consequence. This mini-focus brings together a set of articles that explores key issues in analyzing, integrating and applying single-cell data with an emphasis on challenges for the field.
Microbiologists are poised to embrace heterogeneity through the use of single-cell technologies.
Detecting cancer by liquid biopsy is attracting a lot of money and hype. Can it deliver on its promise to transform oncology? Sarah Webb reports.
A discussion of some of the challenges and promise of single-cell technology.
An array of microfluidic cantilevers measures the mass of single cells in a population over time and detects drug-induced changes in cell growth.
The experimental and computational tools that enable continuous imaging of single cells for days and weeks have advanced rapidly in recent years, and solutions to current limitations are on the horizon.
Computational methods for analyzing single-cell data are uncovering new ways of defining cells.