Sara Rouhanifard, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania
“Building a toolbox of single-cell technologies for RNA detection"
Gene expression differences at the single-cell level are an important driver of cellular behavior and cell fate; however, these differences can be difficult to measure. Therefore, our goal was to design innovative and quantitative tools to widen the scope of applicability of single-cell assays to other areas of biomedical research spanning from the bench to the clinic. First, I will describe inosine fluorescent in situ hybridization (inoFISH), which enables the discrimination between modified and unmodified populations of RNA in single cells. These differences have profound consequences for neuronal function and are important to measure in order to better understand the mechanism. Second, I will present click-amplifying fluorescent in situ hybridization (clampFISH) which allows high specificity and high-gain (>400x) signal amplification of RNA fluorescent signal with single-molecule resolution. In this talk, I will demonstrate that clampFISH enables a broad range of basic and translational applications, and creates a unique opportunity to pursue new research avenues for gene expression in disease and development.
Dr. Rouhanifard received her Ph.D. in 2015 from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and her B.S. in 2007 from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her graduate work on engineering glycans in mammalian organ systems was done in Dr. Peng Wu’s laboratory. Her current postdoctoral work is in Dr. Arjun Raj’s laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania Bioengineering Department where she develops quantitative, single-cell technologies for analyzing nucleic acids in situ. Dr. Rouhanifard is a recipient of the Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F32) from the NIGMS.