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Broad Institute awarded $32.5 million grant to launch new 'Cell Observatory'
Date:1/26/2012

arch on single-celled organisms, such as yeast and bacteria. The cells of more complex beings, such as humans and other mammals, have been much more difficult to study in part because their circuits are more elaborate. Researchers have worked on the problem, of course, but the typical approachdeciphering a single component or connection at a timehas been a slow and piecemeal process, in part because the tools and knowledge needed to comprehensively crack mammalian cell circuits have only recently become available.

The Klarman Cell Observatory will be led by Broad Institute core member Aviv Regev, who has pioneered a new paradigm for defining cellular circuitry. Over the past five years, Regev and her colleagues have made significant strides in systematically deciphering the circuits of two key human cell types: dendritic cells, a type of immune cell, and the stem cells that give rise to blood cells. This work not only shed light on the cells' biology and the systems in which they function, but it also served as a proof-of-principle for how to approach such projects on a large scale.

"Our work has shown that you can choose one cell type and very systematicallyone layer at a timedecipher its circuits," Regev said. "I'm truly grateful to the Klarmans for their visionary support, which will allow us to move this early proof-of-concept work to the next critical phase."

The Cell Observatory will pursue a range of collaborative projects by partnering with scientists within the Broad community and beyond. A critical component of the Observatory's work will involve collaborations with scientists in Israel, including training opportunities for junior scientists. Researchers in that country are renowned experts in the cell circuitry of single-celled organisms and established many of the initial methods used to decipher them.

Seth Klarman, chairman of the Klarman Family Foundation and Broad Institute board member, said, "Beth and I are th
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Contact: Nicole Davis
ndavis@broadinstitute.org
617-714-7152
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Source:Eurekalert

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