Jeffrey Moffitt, Ph.D.
“Imaging the transcriptome: Spatially resolved, single-cell transcriptomics in culture and tissue”
Image-based approaches to single-cell transcriptomics—in which the expressed transcriptome of individual cells is quantified via direct fluorescent imaging of single RNA molecules—offer the exciting ability to not just quantify the gene expression within single cells but also reveal the exact spatial location of each expressed RNA molecule. I will describe the development of multiplexed error robust single-molecule fluorescence in situ hybridization (MERFISH)—a technique capable of imaging and identifying hundreds to a thousand different RNAs simultaneously in tens of thousands of cells per day in both cell culture and tissue slices. I will demonstrate that this technique now allows an exciting range of applications, including mapping the intracellular organization of the transcriptome in bacterial and human cells, high-throughput microscopy-based screens of pooled libraries of genetic perturbations, and the discovery and mapping of cell types within the mouse brain.
Jeffrey Moffitt received his PhD in Physics from Dr. Carlos Bustamante at the University of California Berkeley, where he received the American Physical Society’s award for best doctoral thesis in biophysics for his studies of molecular motors. As a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Xiaowei Zhuang he has developed methods for imaging RNA molecules at the transcriptome scale for which he was award the Anne Heidenthal Prize in Fluorescence Microscopy.