Cell states and their transitions are fundamental to development, diseases such as cancer, and cell reprogramming. The critical regulatory networks, particularly involving proteins, which process the signal information and control the cell states and their transitions are least understood.
Our research focus is to identify cell state specific regulators, elucidate their networks and characterize their dynamics. Stem cell and cancer cell based systems provide us suitable models to study the cell states at single-cell level. To understand the regulatory mechanisms of cell states we combine quantitative single-cell measurements (including proteomics and genomics) with computational analysis and modelling approaches. We further utilize the gained knowledge of regulatory mechanisms to predict and reverse-engineer cell states for useful purposes through cell reprogramming and molecular design strategies.
Ultimately, we hope to gain holistic understanding of the mechanisms cells have evolved to achieve and maintain specific cell states. We also expect that the findings will transcend discipline boundaries and reveal general design principles evolved in mammalian cells for information processing.