The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT has announced a $32.5 million grant from the Klarman Family Foundation to launch a collaborative effort designed to help researchers decipher the inner workings of human cells.
The grant will be used to launch the Klarman Cell Observatory at the Broad Institute, which will work in partnership with scientists at the Broad and around the world to foster groundbreaking discoveries and technological advances in cell circuit research. Led by Broad Institute core member Aviv Regev, the initiative will work to advance the experimental and computational methods needed to understand cell circuitry and establish their broad applicability by studying various cell types.
With support from the Klarman Family Foundation, "the Observatory" will pursue a wide range of projects, including one involving scientists in Israel — a country known for its experts in the cell circuitry of single-celled organisms and for having established many of the initial methods used to decipher such cells. The effort also will build on the work of Regev and her colleagues, who have made significant strides in translating 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 — shedding light on the cells' biology and the systems in which they function.
"Creating a complete catalog of cell circuitry will ultimately have a huge impact on our ability to understand and treat disease," said Broad Institute director Eric Lander. "[Seth and Beth Klarman] are laying the foundation for what I predict will grow eventually into a worldwide effort, with the same spirit and vision of the Human Genome Project. This is a bold step by two extraordinary philanthropists."