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A Multidisciplinary Center for Developing Human and Non-human Primate Brain Cell Atlases

BICAN Developing Human NHP

National Institute of Mental Health

Award #



Award PIs

Arnold Kriegstein, University of California, San Francisco
Aparna Bhadhuri, University of California, Los Angeles
Hao Huang, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Jon Levine, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Tomasz Nowakowski, University of California, San Francisco
Alex Pollen, University of California, San Francisco
Nenad Sestan, Yale University

Project Description

The ultimate product of our Center will be a series of comprehensive developing human and non-human primate (NHP) brain atlases of unprecedented cellular, spatial, and anatomical resolution. In Aim 1, we will characterize transient cell populations, establish the diversity of cell types present in specific brain regions, unravel complex developmental trajectories, and reveal conserved and divergent cell-type specific features. We will jointly profile of single nucleus RNA (snRNA-seq) and accessible chromatin (snATAC-seq) using the 10X Genomics snMultiome platform. All aims will include 30 anatomically distinct regions of fresh frozen developing human, rhesus macaque, and marmoset brains at four developmental epochs: mid-gestation, neonatal, childhood, and adolescence and perform probe-based validation. In Aim 2, we will conduct spatial transcriptomic and epigenomic mapping of cell types in fresh-frozen developing human and NHP brains using DBiT spatial-RNA-seq and spatial-ATAC-seq platforms. This approach will allow us to discover spatial and temporal features, including the developmental niche, proximity of cell types to each other, and regional abundance. In Aim 3 we will create Common Coordinate Frameworks for the developing human and NHP brain using high resolution (9.4T and 7T) MRI-based developmental structural atlases and leveraging existing developing human MRI data. Our final aim will create a cross species molecular and spatial atlas of brain development in human and NHP. This integration will enable us to identify conserved and diveregent aspects of the human brain and identify the developmental stages, spatial distribution, gene regulatory elements and cell types vulnerable to neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. We will coordinate to ensure that our developmental atlases merge with adult human, macaque and marmoset atlases that other BICAN centers create. The data collected by our Center will be perfectly aligned with the overarching goal of the BICCN in generating a comprehensive census of brain cell types across the lifespan that integrates molecular, anatomical, functional, and cell lineage data for describing cell types in human and NHP brains. By leveraging innovations in cell capture and spatial mapping technologies, the current proposal will have broad implications for understanding the cellular origins of diseases and for highlighting patterns of selective cell type vulnerability in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Additionally, our plans to create developmental cellular and molecular resolution maps of marmoset and macaque will provide foundational data for establishing primate models of human disease. Finally, our atlas of conserved molecular, epigenetic, and spatial properties will support the precise monitoring, targeting, and replacement of specific cell types and the improvement of in vitro models.

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