Technology & Facilities
We are based at the University College London Cancer Institute (UCL CI) in the heart of central London (next to UCL Hospital). UCL CI is a world-class CRUK Centre, that performs both basic and translation cancer research. We use the state-of-the-art facilities at UCL CI to study how epithelial, stromal, and immune cells communicate in cancer. Several of these technologies are described below.
Our cell-specific signalling technologies were featured in Trends in Biotechnology 'Systems Biology Analysis of Heterocellular Signalling'.
If you are interested in joining the lab, please visit our Contact page.
The 'Helios' is the latest cytometry time-of-flight (CyTOF) platform from Fluidigm. It can measure 50 proteins/PTMs from fixed tissues and organoids at single-cell resolution. The lab uses mass-cytometry to study how oncogenes regulate cell-cell communication across multiple cell types in solid-tumour models.
Q-Exactive Plus Mass-Spectrometer
UCL CI has two Q-Exactive Plus mass-spectrometers for proteomic and phosphoproteomic analysis of cell signalling. The lab uses isotopic proteome labelling (e.g. SILAC or CTAP) to distinguish different cell types, isobaric labelling (e.g. TMT-10) to resolve multivariate conditions, and automated phosphopeptide enrichment (APE) to achieve broad phosphoproteome coverage. This 'Heterocellular Multivariate Phosphoproteomic' (HMP) technology can simultaneously measure 1,000s of phosphosites from 3 different cell types across 10 different conditions.
10x Genomics Chromium
The 10x Genomics Chromium platform rapidly isolates single-cells and barcoded primer-beads in gel-bead emulsions (GEMs). Single-cells can then be lysed, RNA reversed transcribed, amplified, and sequenced. This approach can measure single-cell transcriptomes in 10,000s of cells. Single-cell RNA-seq differential expression data can be combined with cell-specific signalling experiments to provide a comprehensive molecular perspective of heterocellular signalling.
The Fluidigm C1 is an automated microfluidic sample prep system for single-cell genomics. The C1 can prepare single-cell templates for full length mRNA sequencing (using SMART-Seq technology), DNA sequencing, epigenetics or miRNA expression. While the Drop-Seq system (above) provides excellent 3' differential expression analysis of 1,000s of cells, the C1-SMART-Seq is especially suited for full-length single-cell transcript analysis.
High Performance Computing (HPC)
UCL Research Computing Services provide access to High Performance Computing (HPC) environments such as 'Legion', ‘Myriad’, and 'Grace'. Legion is a highly flexible HPC platform (441 nodes, across 8 architectures) whereas Grace is designed for large parallel computing tasks (680 Lenovo NeXtScale nodes). The lab uses UCL's HPCs to analyse complex single-cell signalling data from heterocellular cancer models.