Facebook founder supports two SciLifeLab projects via global Human Cell Atlas effort

Published: 2017-10-17


Two research projects based at SciLifeLab have been granted funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which was formed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, and provides financial and engineering support for the Human Cell Atlas – an ambitious international collaboration that aims to create a reference atlas of all cells in the healthy human body as a resource for studies of health and disease. The two projects were the only ones from any Nordic country to be granted support. 

One of the projects entails enabling the Human Protein Atlas to improve and enhance its open access database and add integrate new technologies such as high multiplex imaging into the spatial data already in Human Protein Atlas. This effort will focus on brain and pancreatic cells and is collaboratively run by Emma Lundberg (KTH/SciLifeLab), Mathias Uhlén (KTH/SciLifeLab), Adil Mardinoglu (KTH/SciLifeLab), Jan Mulder (Karolinska Institutet/SciLifeLab) and Professor Fredrik Pontén (Uppsala University/SciLifeLab. Read a news text from KTH about this research.

The other project is supported to establish methods and processes to enable studies on the early development of human foetuses. Sten Linnarsson (Karolinska Institutet/SciLifeLab), Joakim Lundeberg (KTH/SciLifeLab) and Mats Nilsson (Stockholm University/SciLifeLab) is leading the investigations, which aims to characterize cell types of brain, lung and heart tissue using single-cell RNA sequencing, and and make a three dimensional map of where the different cell types are located in the embryo. The studies are carried out using aborted embryos/foetuses that have been donated by consenting women. An important part of this project is establishing the ethical framework. Read an interview with Sten Linnarsson by Karolinska Institutet on this initiative (in Swedish).