Research Focus

Imagine, if we understood what the 30 trillions of cells in our body do at any given moment...

Now compare these 30 trillions of cells (not counting the microbiome!) to the earth population of 8B people (3,750 times more!). This creates a massive undertaking...

At CSB we develop innovative technologies to enable the discovery of new biology, drug targets and diagnostics.

Approach: we develop new integrated systems for subcellular analysis and use innovative imaging tools to decipher dynamic networks. This allows us to interrogate networks at multiple scales from populations to molecules.
Five-minute marijuana test

Smoking marijuana impairs cognitive/motor functions and increases the risk of vehicular accidents. Quantifying recent marijuana use remains difficult due to the low sensitivity (binary results) of rapid kits, and long turn-around of laboratory-based tests. In the paper published in Science Translational Medicine, CSB investigators describe a new sensor, EPOCH (express probe for on-site cannabis inhalation), for on-site marijuana testing. EPOCH integrates novel engineering features such as a radial membrane for molecular capture and transmission optics-based signal processing, all contained in a compact cartridge. The sensor quantifies tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s main psychoactive substance, at the level below the regulatory guideline within 5 minutes. In a pilot field testing, EPOCH identified recent (<12 hours) marijuana users by detecting THC in saliva samples. Learn more...

Powerful new test allows a glimpse into tumor dynamics

In a recent study published in Clinical Cancer Research, CSB researchers developed a multiplexed fine needle technology to aspirate cells directly from solid tumors without the need for more invasive core biopsies or surgical excisions. The FAST-FNA method facilitates the comprehensive and quantitative assessment of cellular and functional immune biomarkers within the tumor microenvironment at the single-cell level and in situations when the samples are too scant to perform flow cytometry. Serial immune profiling is an advancement in the field in both concept and methodology that allows for the early detection of changes induced within the tumor microenvironment by various applied therapeutics, providing a platform for the development and discovery of quantitative multi-dimensional scores and/or biomarkers that may allow for improved and timely prediction of treatment response. Learn more...

A molecule that may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Communication within the glial cell ecosystem is essential for neuronal and brain health. We found, in humans and mice, that astrocyte-sourced interleukin-3 (IL-3) programs microglia to ameliorate the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Upon recognition of β-amyloid (Aβ) deposits, microglia increase their expression of IL-3Rα—the specific receptor for IL-3—making them responsive to IL-3. Astrocytes constitutively produce IL-3, which elicits transcriptional, morphological, and functional programming of microglia to endow them with an acute immune response program, enhanced motility, and the capacity to cluster and clear aggregates of Aβ and tau. These changes restrict AD pathology and cognitive decline. Our findings identify IL-3 as a key mediator of astrocyte–microglia cross-talk and a node for therapeutic intervention in AD. Learn more...