University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

Physics Colloquium

Friday, October 10, 2014
4:00pm – 5:30pm

Storrs Campus
Gant Science Complex, Room PB-38

Dr. Peter Kharchenko, Professor, Harvard Medical School

“Statistical Analysis of Gene Expression in Individual Cells”

Modern sequencing-based assays allow to assess transcriptional activity of thousands of genes in an individual cell, with datasets covering thousands of cells. While such data tends to show high levels of technical noise it provides means to identify subpopulations comprising complex tissues and cell mixtures. We developed a computational method for combined identification and interpretation of heterogeneity within groups of cells assayed using single-cell RNA-seq. We apply it to characterize subtypes of cells within healthy and disease tissue, identifying multiple possible groupings of cells based on the independent aspects of their transcriptional state. The transcriptional state of a cell reflects a variety of biological processes, including persistent regulatory configuration traditionally associated with a cell type, transient processes such as cell cycle stages, local metabolic demands, or extracellular interactions. Our approach aims to decompose this complex transcriptional signature by identifying known or newly-discovered gene sets that are linked to statistically significant heterogeneity within the measured collection of cells. This provides important clues about likely functional interpretation of the detected heterogeneity, allowing one to focus on relevant cell groups and differential expression signatures, while controlling for unrelated sources of heterogeneity.

Refreshments will be prior to the talk at 3:30 p.m. In the Gant Complex, Physics Library, Room P-103.


Dawn Rawlinson, 486-4916,

Physics Department (primary)

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