The Cellular Operations team provides cell biology expertise and support to enable the delivery of projects across the various scientific programmes at the Sanger Institute.
Cellular Operations is led by Alex Alderton and consists of approximately 60 scientists with specialist skills and experience across a number of key technology platforms:
Induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) Cells
We generate human iPS cells from blood and skin samples and differentiate those pluripotent cells into a range of different cell types. Current protocols include macrophage, cortical and dopaminergic neurons. This work is performed by our Cellular Generation and Phenotyping team.
We have expertise in the derivation and culture of 3D organoid lines from human tissue samples. In particular the team have extensive experience the generation of organoid models from tumours to develop new cellular models for cancer research. This work is performed by our Cellular Generation and Phenotyping team.
We carry out large scale CRISPR-Cas9 screens in a range of different cell lines. These screens allow investigators to study the impact of genetically altering thousands of genes in the genome in a single experiment. This work is performed by our Cellular Generation and Phenotyping team and Gene editing teams.
We use highly efficient methods that take advantage of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to genetically engineer a range of cell types. Current services offered include gene knockouts, SNP introduction, protein tags and vector construction. This work is performed by our Gene editing team
Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting
Our Flow Cytometry team offer investigators state of art instrumentation and expertise in flow cytometry. The facility is equipped with four high throughput cell analysers and five cell sorters.
The majority of our work involves collaborating with other teams to carry out specific scientific projects. In addition, we also undertake our own R&D to develop tools, establish new platforms and processes and to identify potential efficiency improvements. R&D is carried out by scientists within all of our teams as well as in our dedicated R&D team.
The Cancer Dependency Map integrates the work of multiple experimental and computational research project at the Sanger Institute with the shared aim of identifying dependencies in cancer cells which could be exploited to develop new therapies. This knowledge is foundational for our understanding of cancer biology and the development of precision cancer medicine.
The aim of the Deciphering Developmental Disorders (DDD) Study is to advance clinical genetic practice for children with developmental disorders by the systematic application of the latest microarray and sequencing methods while addressing the new ethical challenges raised.
The European Bank for induced pluripotent Stem Cells (EBiSC) is a large European public-private partnership project supported jointly by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), which aims at establishing the first European Bank for induced pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC).
The Human Cancer Models Initiative is an international effort to generate, genomically characterise and annotate the next-generation of cancer cell models as a resource for the scientific community. The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a founding member of this initiative and is actively contributing towards the cancer cell model collection.
The International Human Cell Atlas initiative aims to create comprehensive reference maps of all human cells—the fundamental units of life—as a basis for both understanding human health and diagnosing, monitoring, and treating disease.
The Cytometry Core Facility at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is a dedicated scientific service offering investigators with state-of-the-art flow cytometry instrumentation together with assistance in running samples, data analysis and experimental design.
The Cellular Generation and Phenotyping (CGaP) core facility provides central cell biology support to the Sanger Institute. CGaP takes a unique approach at the institute by partnering with faculty groups in order to deliver the scale-up of existing protocols to facilitate 'Science at Scale'. We function as a contract research group for the institute, running multiple, distinct cell biology based projects. The facility has expertise in cell derivation from primary tissue, iPSC and organoid derivation, cellular differentiation, CRISPR library screening, functional bioassays, phenotypic assays and end point analysis (e.g. Immunocytochemistry).
In collaboration with our colleagues in Cellular Operations and Stem Cell Informatics, our work focuses on supporting and delivering the gene editing requirements of the Institute's faculty and research programmes. Through the adoption and implementation of modern genome editing techniques, we tailor our technical experience to help answer biological questions. We optimise, develop and democratise the delivery of genome editing tools and platforms for the Institute’s research programmes. For our collaborating partners we provide an agile, project focused, cost effective and efficient service as well as develop and provide biological resources, technical support and training for research groups and their staff.
We develop novel genome editing techniques, cellular differentiation and cellular phenotyping systems, especially with respect to high-throughput investigation of gene and non-coding regulatory element function.
The Sequencing Informatics group ensures that the harvesting, storage and analysis of DNA geynotype and sequence information at the Sanger Institute is as swift and efficient as possible. To do this the team develops software to support the high-throughput data production activities (sequencing, genotyping and ancillary services) of the DNA Pipelines Operations teams.