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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

UF College of Medicine receives $5.1 million grant to help map the human body

UF researchers are using over $5 million to map out the human body to find better solutions and treatments for diseases like cancer.

The nearly four-year grant will be used to create a 3D diagram of the spleen, thymus and lymph nodes, as part of the National Institutes of Health’s Human BioMolecular Atlas Program, said Harry Nick, a UF neuroscience professor and project researcher. 

The goal is to create a 3D map of healthy cells for scientists to compare to diseased tissue, Nick said. Scientists will be able to use the comparison to find the problems and solutions. 

UF received $5.1 million of the project’s $54 million budget. The money came from a research fund backed by Dr. Francis Collins, a geneticist and the National Institute of Health director, Nick said. 

Mark Atkinson, the project’s leader, spent the last 10 years using the same imaging technique on the pancreas to study diabetes at UF. 

UF is collaborating with Bernd Bodenmiller, a quantitative biology assistant professor at the University of Zurich. The team will use high-powered microscopes to photograph tissues and stitch them together to form part of the map, Nick said.  

The University of California San Diego, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology and Vanderbilt University were also awarded grants to map parts of the body, Nick said. 

“We are working amongst a group of prestigious institutions, and I am very excited about this grant,” he said.


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