Unraveling Rare Cell Analysis….A Billion Cells at a Time

Shana Kelley, Ph.D.
University of Houston
The analysis of heterogeneous ensembles of rare cells requires single-cell resolution to allow
phenotypic and genotypic information to be collected accurately. We developed a new
approach for high-throughput cell sorting and profiling, Magnetic Ranking Cytometry, that
uses the loading of individual cells with functionalized magnetic nanoparticles as a means to
report on biomarker expression at the single cell level. This approach can be used to profile
circulating tumor cells in blood and provides a high-information content liquid biopsy in a
single measurement. It profiles both protein (Nature Nanotechnology, 2017, Nature
Biomedical Engineering, 2021) and nucleic acid (Nature Chemistry, 2018) analytes at the
single cell level. Recently, we have used this approach to perform high-throughput,
phenotypic CRISPR screens at the whole genome level (Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2019)
and are now using this platform as a tool for therapeutic target discovery.