The Ancestrally Inclusive Musculoskeletal Atlas Network and chief investigator, Dr Sarah Snelling, win Chan Zuckerberg Initiative funding to build a globally inclusive ​​​cellular atlas of musculoskeletal tissues

17th November 2021

Dr Sarah Snelling, Associate Professor at NDORMS and Biomedicine Stipendiary lecturer at St Hilda’s College, has been awarded $2 million of funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) to deliver an ancestrally diverse atlas of healthy musculoskeletal  tissues.

The CZI announced $28 million in grants to support the inclusion of data from tissue samples from ancestrally diverse donors in the Human Cell Atlas (HCA). A total of 16 teams of researchers were successful – including single-cell biologists, tissue experts, computational biologists, and community-engaged researchers, who represent 31 different countries.

The Ancestrally Inclusive Musculoskeletal Atlas Network is receiving $2m in funding. The network is a global collaboration between multiple research institutes – the University of Oxford (UK), University of Bristol (UK), African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (Zimbabwe), University of Cambridge (UK), University of Southampton (UK) – with tissue collections spanning India, Zimbabwe, Turkey, The Gambia, Oman and Argentina. This builds upon expertise Dr Snelling, and collaborators including Dr Philippa Hulley, have developed in their current CZI projects - The Tendon Seed Network ($1.7million) that is spatially mapping healthy human tendons across anatomy at the single cell level, and a further $100k pilot grant to improve ethnic representation within the Tendon Seed Network.

Dr Snelling, chief investigator of the Ancestrally Inclusive Musculoskeletal Atlas Network said, 'The HCA is a generational resource that, when combined with future disease dataset, will accelerate our understanding of disease pathogenesis, revolutionise drug discovery and pave the way for the cellular evaluation of therapeutic strategies. It is vital that such a public good is representative of, and available too, all global populations.'

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