Developing an Immune and Epithelial Cell Atlas of the Pediatric Airway
The cellular landscape of the pediatric respiratory system remains largely uncharacterized, and as a result, the mechanisms of highly prevalent childhood respiratory diseases, as well as many respiratory diseases that affect adults but that have their origins in childhood, remain poorly understood. This is primarily due to limited availability of tissue samples collected in childhood, as well as technologies that permit deep analysis from limited sample volumes. The advancement of single-cell technologies now means that small volumes of samples can be used to comprehensively profile the cellular landscape of the pediatric respiratory system at the transcriptomic, epigenomic, and protein level. This project will collect healthy tissue samples from five key locations of the respiratory system in children. A multi-omic single-cell analysis of all sample types will be performed, providing an open resource of data, experimental protocols, computational tools, and fresh-frozen tissue to the community for collaborative and future work. The team will leverage long-standing links with communities affected by childhood respiratory disease to facilitate strong community engagement. The community engagement plan will ensure the proposed research is of interest to affected patients and families, will involve the community in governance of the tissue biobank, and will prioritise prompt dissemination of outputs to the affected community.
This multi-disciplinary team of single-cell biologists, community-engaged pediatricians, and computational biology experts will provide a comprehensive immune and epithelial cell atlas of the healthy pediatric airway as an open-access reference for understanding globally significant childhood lung diseases.