Meet Sisi Chen, Winner of the 2021 SLAS Innovation Award

Sisi Chen

Dr. Siyu (Sisi) Chen, the Director of the Single-Cell Profiling and Engineering Center (SPEC) at the California Institute of Technology, was awarded the 2021 SLAS Innovation Award for her presentation on “Defining the Breadth and Specificity of Drug Response in Heterogeneous Immune Cell Populations” at the SLAS 2021 International Conference and Exhibition. The Innovation Award is one of six awards granted by The Society of Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) to celebrate and recognize outstanding achievements in laboratory automation and screening.  

The SLAS Innovation Award winners are selected based on their project’s use of integrated mature and advanced technologies, contributions to exploring technologies in the laboratory, and overall originality and creativity. The Innovation Award includes a $10,000 cash prize, a complimentary one-year Premier membership to SLAS, and an invitation to be included as a panel judge for the 2022 Innovation Award.  

Dr. Chen’s work applied massively-parallel single-cell profiling to explore how human immune populations responded to immunomodulatory drugs. Using a combination of many different immunomodulatory compounds on a heterogeneous population of donor-derived human immune cells, her team gained greater understanding into the effects of gene expression on cells from the human body across a range of different environmental and physiological factors. Her award-winning result was a collaboration between members at Caltech (Matt Thomson, Tami Khazeai, Jeff Park, Tiffany Tsou) and collaborators at UCSF (Zev Gartner, Eric Chow, Chris McGinnis) 

Dr. Chen’s SPEC lab focuses on single-cell genomics and droplet-based single-cell profiling techniques. Winning the 2021 Innovation Award is another accolade for the accomplished lab and Caltech 

The SLAS Innovation Award is sponsored by HighRes Biosolutions, a leading global laboratory automation company, and is attached to a $10,000 cash prize. HighRes Biosolution creates tools and platforms that enable scientists to develop data factories connecting their instrumentation with informatics for unprecedented productivity levels, (re)adapting to changes in science, technology, and organizational structure – wherever in the world they may be.  

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