Genes are molecules and the genome is interpreted by translation into other molecules. How to understand the conversion of this molecular language into the organism is the central problem confronting biology.
– Sydney Brenner
Sydney Brenner described the correct level of abstraction for biology as the cell (Sequences and consequences, 2010). From the cell, we can look within to the interacting molecules that constitute it, or look out to the organism that contains it. I am interested in both views: looking out to study how the network of interacting cells constitutes a functional organism, and looking in to study the molecular rules that govern cell state. If the correct level of abstraction for biology is the cell, then naturally the correct unit of measurement is single cells, and so I apply single-cell methods in the pursuit of these goals.