1st speaker: Jasmin Alsous, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Developmental Dynamics
Topic: Sperm Storage – an overlooked leg of the journey
Before fertilizing the egg, sperm is typically stored in the female for days (e.g., humans), weeks (e.g., flies), or years (e.g., snakes). In the interim, sperm exhibit a range of collective behaviors – organizing into a toroidal mass in insects while aligning in parallel formations at tissue boundaries in vertebrates. Sperm are among the most taxonomically diverse cell types and operate in specialized environments; extracting general principles that govern their behaviors while they wait has therefore been challenging. In this talk, I will present what is known and will highlight common themes to motivate doable future work.
2nd speaker: Xi Chen, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Genomics
Topic: A human blood single-cell study of Staph infections
Staph infections are caused by staphylococcus bacteria. It can be life-threatening once the bacteria invade deeper into the body. Thus, early diagnosis is important. To identify a gene signature to precisely predict staph infections, we generated multi-omics single-cell data from blood samples of staph-infected individuals. Staph infections induced global epigenetic and transcriptomic changes in immune cells, most pronounced in monocytes. We developed ‘MAGICAL’ to infer cell type-specific gene regulatory networks that have infection-associated changes in both chromatin accessibility and gene expression. From the target genes of these networks, we identified a gene signature to predict staph infections at 90% accuracy.