Advances in synthetic biology and biotechnology promise to revolutionize our approaches to diagnostics, drug delivery, and basic biology research. Here, we will present an overview of the Applied Biotechnology Laboratory, the Francis Crick Institute’s first dedicated biotechnology laboratory. We will discuss the problems we plan to focus on in the coming years, and some of the approaches we are taking.
We will also present Slide-seq and Timestamps, two new sequencing technologies that we have invented that provide spatial and temporal resolution in single cell sequencing, respectively. We discuss how Slide-seq provides full transcriptomic information with single-cell spatial resolution, and how this technology can be applied to discover new patterns of spatial gene expression and to study the effects of pathologies on tissue organization.
We further discuss how Timestamps enables transcriptional dynamics to be inferred from RNA sequencing, allowing the inference of complex temporal dynamics from a single endpoint measurement.
Sam Rodriques is an entrepreneur, technologist, and inventor in the biotechnology space. He has invented a new nanofabrication method, a new approach to sensing neural activity with probes in the bloodstream, and new ways to extract spatial and temporal information from RNA sequencing. He founded the Applied Biotechnology Laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute in January 2021 with the goal of combining bioengineering and entrepreneurship to develop and deploy new biotechnologies that address major unmet needs for biology and medicine.
Prior to starting his lab, he was an entrepreneur in residence at Petri, a biotech accelerator in Boston, Massachusetts, and a total of four companies have been spun out based on technologies he has invented. In the spring of 2019, he graduated with a PhD in Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, having worked between the MIT Media Lab, the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. He has received numerous national awards and fellowships to support his studies and recognize his research, including the 2019 Stat Wunderkind award, the Hertz Foundation Thesis Prize, the Myhrvold and Havranek Family Charitable Fund Hertz Graduate Fellowship, an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a Churchill Scholarship.
His lab is developing a broad range of technologies, including new AAV viral vectors, new diagnostic technologies for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, and new ways to map connections between neurons in the brain.