The several decades, cell biologists have used fairly common "reference" cell lines, such as IMR90, NIH3T3, Swiss3T3, Cos-1/7, 293T and HeLa cells, to dissect and uncover the elaborate regulatory pathways within the mammalian system. It was thought that any regulatory pathway that differed from cell line to cell line, was probably not reproducible and possible due to an in vitro artifact. So much emphasis was placed on biologically uniform response among cell lines and individuals.
While it was useful for identifying high conserved and rather robust regulatory pathways, it left ignored large systematic variations in cellular response and gene expression due to inheritable genetic polymorphisms. This perhaps was justified since in vitro cell biology is highly dependent on tissue culture, a process susceptible to many known and unknown external artifacts.
Our aim is to develop study individual differences in many of the well-known classic cellular responses, such as cell growth, cell cycle, growth factor and cytokine signaling, senescence, oncogenic transformation, cell migration signaling, and other adaptive cellular responses to look for cis-regulatory polymorphisms that could affect the level of gene induction from individual to individual.