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NIH Common Fund Single Cell Analysis Program: research opportunities to define cell "states" and cell-to-cell variation

Thursday, November 07, 2013 — Poster Session II

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center (Upper-Level Terrace)




  • C.K. Ng
  • R.S. Conroy
  • A.C. Beckel-Mitchener


Many biological experiments are performed on groups of cells under the assumption that all cells of a particular “type” are identical. However, recent evidence from studies of single cells reveals that individual cells within the same population may differ dramatically, and that these differences can have important consequences for the health and function of the entire population. Experimental approaches that examine only population-level characteristics can obscure these crucial differences. New approaches to single cell analyses are needed to uncover fundamental biological principles and ultimately improve the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Responding to this demand, the NIH Common Fund Single Cell Analysis Program was initiated in 2012 and supports: 1) centers examining the transcriptional signatures of individual human cells in order to analyze cell-to-cell heterogeneity and to define specific cell types or “states” in a given population; 2) individual projects focusing on early-stage development of highly innovative tools and technologies that substantially improve the capabilities of single cell analysis; and 3) individual projects accelerating translation of promising technologies for single cell analysis from prototype into practice. The program intends to evolve through new funding announcements over the next several years. More information about the program is available at

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