Jazz Dickinson, a graduate student in the Nancy Allbritton Group, successfully defended her doctoral thesis on August 4th. Her dissertation presents the development and characterization of an automated capillary electrophoresis system for measuring single-cell enzyme activity. Capillary electrophoresis is a powerful tool for single-cell analysis, but use of the technology for single-cell applications has been limited by low throughput. Typically, the rate of single-cell CE is limited to 1 – 2 cells per hour.
Jazz built a single-cell capillary electrophoresis system capable of performing single-cell analysis at rates as high as 3.5 cells/min. The system was used to measure enzyme activity in a number of different cell types, including primary cells from patients with the deadliest form of leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia. This enabled the identification of subpopulations of cells that could be important in the development of therapies to treat leukemia.
Jazz will stay on for a couple of months, and will then move across town and change her hue of blue to a somewhat darker shade, as she will start a post-doctoral position at Duke University in Professor Philip Benfey’s lab, working on developmental biology. Congratulations and best wishes, Jazz!