The Human Skin Immune Atlas: Three-dimensional reconstruction of serial histology and computational image analysis of dermal immune populations in normal and diseased skin

Grantee: Philip L. Tong, PhD, Department of Dermatology, Royal Prince Albert Hospital, University of Sydney, Australia, Dr Ben Roediger and Professor Wolgang Weninger, Centenary Institute, Newtown, Australia, and Dr Weimiao Yu, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*STAR, Singapore

Amount: DKK 708,500

Grant category: Research Grants in open competition

Year: 2016

Geography: Australia, Singapore

This research project, led by Dr Philip Tong from the University of Sydney, has the potential to represent a technological advancement in the field of human skin immunological research. By use of 3D histological reconstruction and computational image analysis, the aim is to develop the world’s first Human Skin Immune Atlas of dermal immune populations in normal and diseased skin.

The members of the team assembled for this project are already established experts in the fields of skin immunology, microscopy, inflammation and computational analysis, and the project will have an international platform with sites across Asia and Oceania.

The skin is a complex organ, wherein topographical and micro-compartmental specialisation of the immune system has been demonstrated. The general spatial understanding of the skin immune system has been advanced through the use of transgenic laboratory animals with live imaging tools. These, however, have yet to be validated in humans. The work realised in this project may provide fundamental insights into the human skin immune system.

Moreover, the data generated may have wide reaching implications for the development of better in vitro skin substitutes, validation of in vivo microscopic skin imaging tools for human use and improved quantification of skin inflammation in clinical trial settings.