1. Quantifying orthogonal barcodes for sequence census assays

  2. bioRxiv (2022-10-10)

    (102 words) Orthogonal barcoding in single-cell genomics has made it possible to simultaneously measure numerous attributes of cells. We extended kallisto bustools to quantify orthogonal barcoding assays such as 10x Feature Barcoding, CiteSeq, Multiseq, and single-cell CRISPR screens. Our tool, called kite, is accurate and 48 times faster than state-of-the-art methods while requiring only a fifth of the memory. It has already been used in numerous projects by others. We also introduced a set of quality control metrics, and accompanying tool (qcbc), for validating barcode designs. qcbc provides a method for assay developers to address the problem of ambiguous mapping barcodes prior to experimentation.

  3. Pseudoalignment facilitates assignment of error-prone Ultima Genomics reads

  4. bioRxiv (2022-08-29)

    (101 words) The expiration of Illumina patents has spurred the development of new sequencing assays and the launch of new sequencing companies. One of these is Ultima Genomics, which recently published articles showcasing its technology. We benchmarked and compared single-cell RNA-sequencing data generated with Illumina and Ultima Genomics sequencers and found some exaggerations in claims made by the company. Specifically, we found high error rates in and near homopolymer stretches in Ultima data that led to erroneous quantification of some genes. We propose pseudoalignment as a method to compensate for these errors and show that it outperforms standard read alignment for this application.

  5. Metadata retrieval from sequence databases with ffq

  6. bioRxiv (2022-05-26)

    Bioinformatics (2023-01-05)

    (102 words) The accessing of data and metadata from the sequence read archive (SRA) and other genomics databases has been cumbersome, and a source of frustration for many biologists seeking to leverage published data in their work. We developed a command-line tool, called ffq, for querying user- generated data and metadata from sequence databases such as GEO, SRA, NCBI, EMBL-EBI, DDBJ, and ENCODE. ffq enables users to quickly and easily find FASTQ files associated with a paper or accession, and greatly simplifies and organizes the process of downloading data. This tool currently has 400 stars on GitHub and is downloaded ~200 times per week.

  7. Depth normalization for single-cell genomics count data

  8. bioRxiv (2022-05-06)

    (90 words) Single-cell count data normalization is a requisite for accurate interpretation of analysis results. However, a menagerie of methods has created confusion in the field, and there is disagreement about what methods to use in practice. We benchmarked widely used methods for normalizing scRNAseq data on 526 datasets in order to understand their performance and limits. We found tradeoffs between effective depth-normalization, variance stabilization, and monotonicity. We also found that the proportional fitting (PF) transformation followed by log(1 + X) can benefit from an additional PF with minimal loss to variance stabilization.

  9. A transcriptomic and epigenomic cell atlas of the mouse primary motor cortex

  10. Nature (2021-10-06)

    (77 words) The BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) has been tasked with identifying and cataloging cell types in the human and mouse brain. Working with researchers from many institutions, we produced a transcriptomic atlas of the mouse primary motor cortex. To do so, we developed computational and statistical methods to integrate multimodal data. The resulting reference atlas is a comprehensive molecular and genomic account of the diverse neuronal and non-neuronal cell types in the mouse primary motor cortex.

  11. A multimodal cell census and atlas of the mammalian primary motor cortex

  12. Nature (2021-10-06)

    (72 words) As the initial product of the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN), we produced a multimodal cell atlas of the mammalian primary motor cortex. This was achieved by coordinated large-scale analyses of single-cell transcriptomes, chromatin accessibility, DNA methylomes, spatially resolved single-cell transcriptomes, and morphological and electrophysiological measurements. Cross-modal analysis provided evidence for the transcriptomic, epigenomic and gene regulatory basis of neuronal phenotypes, establishing a unifying and mechanistic framework of neuronal cell-type organization.

  13. Isoform cell-type specificity in the mouse primary motor cortex

  14. Nature (2021-10-06)

    (79 words) The proliferation of single-cell modalities necessitates computational techniques for integrative analysis. Using spatial, gene, and isoform single-cell RNA-sequencing, we validated an integration approach and applied it to produce the first-ever spatially-resolved isoform atlas of the mouse primary motor cortex as part of the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN). Our results highlight the use of multiple RNA- seq modalities to describe the complex molecular composition of cell types in the brain and provide a reference for further functional analysis.

  15. Massively scaled-up testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA via next-generation sequencing of pooled and barcoded nasal and saliva samples

  16. Nature Biomedical Engineering (2021-07-01)

    (104 words) Supply chain limitations during the COVID-19 pandemic have driven up the cost of COVID-19 diagnostics. This places a priority on high throughput approaches for diagnostics. We produced a COVID-19 diagnostic assay using next-generation sequencing of pooled samples. This assay, called SwabSeq, enables the testing of thousands of nasal or saliva samples for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in a single run without the need for RNA extraction. SwabSeq has an analytical sensitivity and specificity comparable to or better than traditional qPCR tests, and can be rapidly adapted for the detection of other pathogens. SwabSeq is currently deployed at UCLA and Caltech for their COVID-19 surveillance testing program.

  17. Low-cost, scalable, and automated fluid sampling for fluidics applications

  18. HardwareX (2021-05-31)

    (89 words) Current commercial systems for long-time-course microfluidics experiments are costly and close-source, limiting the scale of experimentation and hardware customization. To address this, we have developed a low-cost, modular, and automated fluid sampling device for scalable fluidic applications called colosseum. The colosseum fraction collector uses a single motor, and can be built for less than $100, demonstrating a cost savings of ~10x compared to commercial alternatives. Colosseum uses off-the- shelf and 3D-printed components and can be assembled in less than an hour making it accessible to researchers in low-resource environments.

  19. Modular, efficient and constant-memory single-cell RNA-seq preprocessing

  20. Nature Biotechnology (2021-04-01)

    (99 words) State-of-the-art tools for single-cell RNA-sequencing preprocessing are memory intensive and slow; requiring upwards of 100GB of RAM and up to a day of processing time for a standard experiment (~10k cells, ~600 million reads). These resource requirements translate to high costs and excessive wait time. To address this, we developed the kallisto bustools workflow for single-cell RNA-sequencing preprocessing. Our workflow outperforms state-of-the-art tools with speed improvements of up to 50x and memory improvements up to 9x with minimal accuracy tradeoffs. The kallisto bustools workflow has been cited 199 times and has been used for a number of large projects.

  21. Benchmarking of lightweight-mapping based single-cell RNA-seq pre-processing

  22. bioRxiv (2021-03-03)

    (56 words) Recent developments of comparable tools for preprocessing single-cell RNA-sequencing data necessitate a coherent evaluation and benchmark of methods. We compared two lightweight-mapping tools that have been developed for pre-processing single-cell RNA-seq data, and found that they produce similar results. We also found that to the extent that there are differences, they are inconsequential for downstream analysis.

  23. Normalization of single-cell RNA-seq counts by log (x+ 1) or log (1+ x)

  24. Bioinformatics (2021-03-02)

    (52 words) Analysis of lowly expressed genes in single-cell RNA-sequencing can produce misleading results when standard normalization techniques are applied. To demonstrate this, we took single-cell RNA- sequencing data from young and old mice and showed how the application of log(1+x) combined with differential expression of ACE2 incorrectly failed to find statistically significant differences.

  25. Reliable and accurate diagnostics from highly multiplexed sequencing assays

  26. Nature Scientific Reports (2020-12-10)

    (94 words) The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the development of numerous high-throughput assays that leveraged next generation sequencing for diagnostics. These assays require fast data preprocessing for fast turnaround times. To achieve this, we developed and validated a computational workflow based on kallisto bustools to quickly, accurately and reliably process high-throughput sequencing data. We showed that our workflow is effective at processing data from all recently proposed COVID-19 sequencing-based diagnostic tests, and is generally applicable to any diagnostic multiplexed sequencing assay. This workflow was used at the University of Arizona to process their COVID-19 diagnostic data.

  27. Markedly heterogeneous COVID-19 testing plans among US colleges and universities

  28. MedRxiv (2020-08-11)

    (100 words) During the COVID-19 pandemic, universities in the US were faced with managing in-person learning with minimal, and often incoherent, guidelines. To contribute to an evaluation of university preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic, we assessed COVID-19 on-campus testing. We examined testing plans at more than 500 colleges and universities throughout the US, and collated statistics, as well as narratives from publicly facing websites. We discovered a highly variable and muddled state of COVID-19 testing plans among US institutions of higher education and highlighted cases of divergence between university testing plans and public health best practices, as well as potential bioethical issues.

  29. Decrease in ACE2 mRNA expression in aged mouse lung

  30. bioRxiv (2020-04-05)

    (69 words) COVID-19 mortality has been reported higher in older individuals and one hypothesis is age-related variation in ACE2, a receptor for SARS-CoV-2 viral entry. To study this question of age-related changes in ACE2, we analyzed single-cell RNAseq data in mouse lung and showed that 24-month old mice had significantly reduced ACE2 mRNA expression relative to 3-month old mice. We find that these differences appear to be localized to ciliated cells.

  31. Principles of open source bioinstrumentation applied to the poseidon syringe pump system

  32. Nature Scientific Reports (2019-08-27)

    (68 words) Instrumentation to perform single-cell RNA-sequencing experiments is costly and limits the scale of experimentation. To address this, we have developed an open-source syringe pump and microscope system called poseidon. The system of three syringe pumps and microscope costs less than $400, and can be assembled in under an hour. Importantly, poseidon reduces costs of experimentation by up to 25x while demonstrating similar accuracy and precision to commercial alternatives.

  33. Thermo-electrochemical generator: energy harvesting & thermoregulation for liquid cooling applications

  34. Sustainable Energy & Fuels (2017-06-08)

    (44 words) Heat exchangers cool industrial systems by rejecting waste heat to a thermal reservoir despite the heat's energetic potential. To convert waste heat into useable electric energy, we develop, build, and test a liquid-cooling heat exchanger that uses thermelectrics to convert waste heat into electricity.