TECHNOLOGIES FOR ARRAYED SINGLE-CELL BIOLOGY
Conventional biology primarily deals with large ensembles of cells. In a typical experiment, thousands to millions of cells may be placed in a petri dish, challenged with a drug molecule, and then studied to determine the efficacy of the molecule. Such experiments average over a large number of cells and in many cases miss critically important data emerging from single cells or small subsets of cells. Collection of data at the single-cell level is imperative for developing a comprehensive understanding of biology and diseases that depend on small collections of cells in their initial stages such as cancer. In this chapter, we briefly introduce the concept of single-cell biology and discuss the type of tools needed to conduct the related experiments. In addition to the ability to manipulate single cells, these tools must have very high detection precision and be capable of conducting parallel experiments on a large number of single cells in order to generate biologically relevant and meaningful data sets. The recent advances in nanotechnology, microtechnology, and automation have had a transformative impact on this field. As a representative set of tools enabled by these technologies, we will discuss a nanoelectronic sensor for detection of biomolecules and a photonic method for measuring the oxygen consumption rate (OCR) of a single cell in the following sections.
13.1 THE IMPORTANCE ...