May 12, 2021
Vancouver, BC — Genome BC has funded four cutting-edge human health projects in the field of single-cell ‘omics. This field of study includes disciplines across the ‘omics space from genomics to metabolomics, as well as the technologies enabling these single-cell ‘omics approaches. The funded projects include:
- Single Erythrocyte HbA1c Distribution Assay led by Drs. David Goodlett (University of Victoria) and Michael Chen (Vancouver Island Health Authority). This project aims to improve testing for and diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes (which accounts for 90% of the diabetes cases in Canada) by examining HbA1c in single red blood cells rather than an average obtained from large blood sample. Ultimately this work will reduce misdiagnosis, minimize inadvertent negative health outcomes and overall health delivery costs associated with misdiagnoses.
- Endo-phenotyping of Human Alveolar Macrophages from Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL) by Drs. Xuekui Zhang (University of Victoria) and Don Sin (University of British Columbia). In this project single-cell sequencing will be applied to help identify specific cells in the airways of healthy individuals compared to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to determine how COPD changes the immune cell populations. This work will lead to a better understanding of COPD and assist in directing appropriate therapy and predicting patient outcomes and quality of life.
- From multi-omics integration to computational modelling for high resolution human biology led by Drs. Peter Zandstra (University of British Columbia) and Fabio Rossi (University of British Columbia). This team is analyzing the development of individual T-cells, which is the main cell type involved in immunity. ‘Snapshots’ of T-cell development at single cell resolution will be integrated to create a computational model of T-cell development. This model will inform the strategies for generating T-cells in vitro that are essential in realizing the tremendous potential of T-Cell therapy exemplified by anti-caner CAR-T therapy. In addition, the methods established during this project will be made available to the general community via established, already successful core facilities.
- Blood single-cell RNA sequencing of fibrotic interstitial lung disease subtypes led by Drs. Christopher Ryerson (University of British Columbia) and Scott Tebbutt (University of British Columbia). The goal of this project is to identify diagnostic markers that can accurately distinguish between subtypes of interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) as there is considerable evidence that specific white blood cell populations are important drivers of ILD progression. Improving diagnosis will result in significant social and economic benefits and improve health outcomes for the thousands of patients suffering from ILDs.
“Genome BC is investing in BC-based researchers who are using transformative technologies which promise to have a high impact on health care,” says Dr. Federica Di Palma, Vice President, Sectors and Chief Scientific Officer at Genome BC. “These projects are applying the power of fundamental research to the new field of single-cell research to gain biological insights at a higher level of resolution producing pioneering research results and leading on a global scale.”
This work was funded through Genome BC’s seventh intake of Sector Innovation Program which seeks to support projects that will address the needs of each key sector and have the potential to generate social, environmental and economic benefits for British Columbia in the future.
Contact: Jennifer Boon, Communications Manager, Public and Media Relations