Kirsten Diggins joined the Irish lab at Vanderbilt in 2013 for her Ph.D. thesis research in the Program in Cancer Biology and defended in November 2016.
Kirsten’s project uses computational biology tools to identify and characterize human cells.
Current: In 2017, Kirsten returned to the Irish lab as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University.
Degrees: B.S. in Microbiology, University of Alabama. Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from Vanderbilt University.
Kirsten’s 2015 paper in Methods described a bioinformatics workflow for mass cytometry (CyTOF) that is now widely used in our lab and beyond:
Methods for discovery and characterization of cell subsets in high dimensional mass cytometry data. Diggins KE, Ferrell PB, Irish JM, Methods. 2015. Pubmed. DOI.
Kirsten’s 2017 Nature Methods paper created a new tool to objectively identify cells called Marker Enrichment Modeling (MEM).2
Characterizing cell subsets using marker enrichment modeling. Diggins KE, Greenplate AR, Leelatian N, Wogsland CE, Irish JM, Nature Methods. 2017. Pubmed. DOI.
Trivia: Kirsten’s MEM paper coined the term ‘cytotype’ to describe the identity of a cell subset. In the word cytotype, ‘cyto’ means cell and ‘type’ means identity or grouping. MEM enables automated cytotyping in a cytomic study (e.g. mapping all the cell types in a tissue or tumor) the way other tools enable genotyping in a genomic study (e.g. mapping all the genetic elements in a genome).
Marker Enrichment Modeling (MEM) code is available for academic and non-profit use and can be licensed for commercial use through VUeInnovations: https://mem.vueinnovations.com/
Kirsten and co-authors published a detailed protocol for MEM:
Diggins KE, Gandelman JS, Roe CE, Irish JM. Generating Quantitative Cell Identity Labels with Marker Enrichment Modeling (MEM). Current Protocols in Cytometry 2017. NIHMS912131. PMC in progress. Pubmed. DOI.