• Welcome to Askary Lab @ UCLA

    Where developmental and synthetic biology meet

  • Imaging based barcoding

    We’ve developed a platform for imaging based
    static and dynamic barcoding of cells

  • We study cell fate specification in the retina
    using genetic barcoding and spatial transcriptomics

  • We want to understand how development produces
    robust outcomes in the face of stochasticity

Principles of cell fate specification

Our goal in Askary lab is to uncover the principles that govern cell fate specification. We use mouse retina as our model and leverage what we learn to develop new therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative disorders of the eye. Cell fate is regulated by factors such as lineage, cell-cell interactions, and gene expression history that are often inaccessible to direct observation. To overcome this problem, we have developed a method for sensitive and scalable in situ readout of DNA barcodes (Askary et al., 2020 Nature Biotechnology). Information about lineage relationship of the cells can be recorded in these barcodes and recovered by imaging, together with transcriptional profile and spatial location of the cells. It is the combination of these data, all from the same sample, that enable us to take a new look at some of the oldest questions in developmental biology.

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