Pediatric Network for the Human Cell Atlas of the Eye
The goal of the project is to gain biological and mechanistic insights by studying ocular tissue from children at single-cell resolution. To achieve this goal, the network will first generate a cell atlas reference that not only includes the profile of all cell subtypes, but also their spatial information for the entire eye. The team will perform large-scale, single-cell, multi-omics profiling for a total of 54 well-characterized donor eyes from a cohort of individuals that strives to be as representative as possible at three developmental stages. Marker gene sets for each cell subtype will be identified using both standard and newly developed analytic tools.
In parallel, single-cell spatial genomics will be conducted using the MERFISH technology to validate cell subtype marker genes and obtain spatial information for each cell subtype at the same time. Finally, new software tools that integrate single-cell multi-omics and MERFISH data will be developed to generate a comprehensive spatially resolved, single-cell atlas of human pediatric ocular tissue throughout development. This team brings complementary expertise in pediatric ophthalmology, single-cell genomics, spatial omics, bioinformatics and statistics, visual system research, and community outreach and engagement.