Live Single-Cell Biochemistry (SysMic)

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Our long-term goal is to understand how networks of biochemical reactions process information from the extra- and intra- cellular environment to determine cell function and cellular decisions. More specifically, we are studying how biochemical networks encode for cellular decisions underlying cell and tissue homeostasis and how oncogenes contributed to early tumour initiation and promotion by reprogramming these processes. The study of cell decisions and the study of processes that are often heterogeneous and asynchronous requires technologies that preserve the integrity (live cells) and identity (tracked over time) of cells and that, at the same time, can reveal phenotypes (cell states) and the activity of biochemical (signalling and metabolic) networks. sysmic_logo_sqAs state-the-art-technologies cannot always satisfy all these requirements at the same time, we are carrying out a transdisciplinary research programme (nick-named Systems Microscopy or SysMic) dedicated to removing technology or epistemological barriers to establish a live single-cell biochemistry of cell fate. To reach this goal, we work across different disciplines:

  • Optogenetics | To study biochemistry in living cells, we need to genetically modify cells to make them optically active. Our efforts in molecular biology and genetics are related to this task. We use protein biosensors to report on biochemical reactions (signalling or metabolic) with a particular emphasis on biochemical multiplexing and to trigger biochemical reactions by light. Explore the ‘Optogenetic’ section for details…
  • Biophotonics | We engineer microscopy tools and data analysis techniques to quantitate or control biochemical reactions in single living cells aiming to understand how biochemical networks encode cellular decisions. Explore the ‘Biophotonics’ section for details…
  • Theoretical physics and applied mathematics | We are investing significant efforts also into the theoretical understanding of the techniques we use and develop (to overcome existing limitations), the modelling of the biological systems we study, and novel computational methods for data analysis and integration. Explore the ‘Theoretical physics and applied mathematics’ section for details…
  • Cancer Biology | Our transdisciplinary research program is aimed to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the earliest steps in oncogenesis and to translate this knowledge and technologies to early detection and intervention. Explore the ‘Cancer Biology’ section for details…

You can navigate through different projects in this area, using the ‘Explore section’ links or the main navigation menu at the top the page or the ‘Live Single-Cell Biochemistry’ menu at the right-hand side of the page (bottom for mobiles).