A Global Pediatric Cell Atlas of Nasal and Oral Mucosa
The nasopharyngeal and oral mucosa represent the initial sites of interaction with many environmental agents and microbes. Recent single-cell studies have revealed a rich diversity of epithelial and immune cell types and states within nasopharyngeal epithelium in diseases of global significance, including allergic inflammation and viral infection. Minimally-invasive sampling of the nose and mouth in children represents a unique opportunity to build a comprehensive map of epithelial and immune system development across diverse ancestries and environments. To more broadly investigate the nasal and oral mucosa, and understand how the normal variation present in healthy children maintains health or may inform disease, the project seeks to understand the nasopharyngeal and oral mucosa in children living within globally representative communities.
The team aims to advance scientific and community engagement goals in all phases of the research to enable the careful and considerate analysis of participants at each of seven sites across the age range from one month to 5 years of age. The team will analyze single-cell data jointly with scientists from all locations, and share this data openly with the community. Ultimately, the project’s global single-cell-based characterization of the developing nasopharyngeal mucosa will reveal principles of epithelial and immune system development that will facilitate the equitable development of novel therapies for diseases of the aerodigestive tracts.