25 March 2019

The skin is an amazing and complex organ that comprises multiple layers and cell types that are functionally distinct. The world’s first atlas of the human skin has been made for researchers looking for new treatments of skin diseases – and it’s also open to the public!

The aim of the world’s first atlas of the human skin, the Proteomic Skin Atlas, is to characterize the molecular composition of the healthy human skin by creating an atlas of all the proteins expressed in healthy skin as a function of their spatial location as well as its major cell types.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have studied large amounts of data from tissue samples of the skin to map its molecules and their functions. The researchers have used discarded skin from surgeries to divide the skin into its various layers and to isolate immune cells from the skin. Subsequently, they have analysed the protein content in these samples. The result is a characterisation of almost 11,000 proteins, a lot of them previously unknown in the skin.

A treasure map of the skin

The atlas is based on supercomputer analyses and provides invaluable knowledge of psoriasis, eczema, allergies and autoimmune diseases. Comprising the identification of a global proteomic composition of human skin, the atlas will provide an important resource and serve as a basis for future studies comparing the proteomes of inflammatory and oncologic skin diseases.

The new atlas is a welcome ‘treasure map’ for the researchers at the new LEO Foundation Skin Immunology Research Center at the University of Copenhagen, who will be using the atlas to discover new paths to treatment and possibly recovery from psoriasis, eczema, autoimmune diseases and other conditions among the 3,000 known skin diseases.

“The atlas can guide us to new parts of the skin and provide insight into molecules and protein networks that we would never have identified otherwise. It is a bit like being an explorer holding a map of new treasure troves of knowledge within immunology”, says Professor Niels Ødum, Executive Director of the LEO Foundation Skin Immunology Research Center.

The LEO Foundation has granted DKK 100.000 to the Skin Atlas, which is available not only to the researchers, but also to the public.

Please have a look

Video about the Skin Atlas

Press release from the University of Copenhagen  The world’s first skin atlas to see the light of day

The LEO Foundation Skin Immunology Research Center

Assistant professor Beatrice Dyring-Andersen
Telefon: +45 35 33 74 36
Mail: beatriceda@sund.ku.dk