Second Chan Zuckerberg Grant Awarded to Dr. Benjamin Humphreys

Dr. Benjamin Humphreys

Dr. Benjamin Humphreys and collaborators will define the transcriptome and epigenome of the normal human kidney with Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Seed Network funding.

Benjamin Humphreys, MD, PhD, the Joseph Friedman Professor of Renal Diseases in Medicine and Division of Nephrology chief, is part of a team of investigators that has received a three-year Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) grant to define the transcriptome and epigenome of the normal human kidney.  Data obtained from both developing and adult kidney (male and female) will serve as a reference against which human kidney organoid cell types can be compared.

Their grant, Benchmarking Developing and Adult Kidney with Organoids at Single Cell Resolution, is part of a new CZI funding mechanism called the Seed Networks.  These networks bring together experimental scientists, computational biologists, software engineers and physicians to foster new interdisciplinary collaboration while continuing to support the development of the Human Cell Atlas (HCA) project.  The HCA is an ambitious project that is creating a comprehensive, open-source map of every cell type in the human body.

Developmental biologist Dr. Bo Zhang

Developmental biologist Dr. Bo Zhang (WU) is also on the research team.

Co-principal investigators of the grant include: Dr. Humphreys and Bo Zhang, PhD, from Washington University; Steven Chang, MD, Stefan Tullius, MD, PhD, and Sushrut Waikar, MD, MPH, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and Andrew McMahon, PhD, from the University of Southern California.  Nils Lindstrom, PhD, also from USC, will collaborate on the project.

More than 150 Seed Network participants gathered in a “kickoff meeting” to help individual labs and projects understand the many activities across the HCA community.

Participants of the Seed Network Kickoff Meeting; photo

Participants of the Seed Network Kickoff Meeting; photo: CZI

This is the second CZI grant awarded to Humphreys.  In 2017, he received funding as part of the flagship HCA project to identify all the cell types in the human kidney using single-cell RNA sequencing.  Read more about this work here.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician, co-founded CZI in December 2015 with the goal of using technology to tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges such as preventing and eradicating disease, improving learning experiences for children, and reforming the criminal justice system.

To learn more about the Seed Networks click here or watch this short YouTube video.

Follow Dr. Humphreys @HumphreysLab, WU Nephrology @WUNephrology, and CZI @CZIscience on Twitter.