Investigators & Fellows

Allen Distinguished Investigators Lineage Barcode Focus 2014

This round of Allen Distinguished Investigator (ADI) grants recognizes and supports three research teams in the field of human cell lineage – a central and urgent quest in the fields of biology and medicine. Human cell lineage is the story of how all of us grow from a single cell to 100 trillion cells as cells divide, die and renew to work together in the complex system that is the human body.

This field of study works to understand the process of cell division, renewal and death, as well as how cells in a developing embryo diversify into many distinct cell types. By knowing more about the progression through which a cell type is formed, we can uncover the mysteries of the process that causes diseases such as cancer. Single cell tracking methods – such as barcoding individual cells – will help to map and track the development of certain cells and the relationships and hierarchies that develop in the process. Overall, this research has the potential to profoundly impact science and push the boundaries of current knowledge.

The 2014 ADI recipients for lineage barcode research are:

Defining Protein Barcodes for Scanning Cells in Human Blood 
Dr. Neil Kelleher, Northwestern University

Tracking Cell Fate Decisions in Single Cells 
Dr. Michael Elowitz and Dr. Long Cai, California Institute of Technology

Cell Lineage Defined by Mitotic Recombination
Dr. Jay Shendure and Dr. Marshall Horwitz, University of Washington School of Medicine


Defining Protein Barcodes for Scanning Cells in Human Blood

Neil Kelleher

Investigator Team: Dr. Neil Kelleher
Walter and Mary Elizabeth Glass Professor in the Life Sciences
Departments of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences Department of Medicine in the Feinberg School of Medicine
Additional Collaborators: Dr. Rebekah Gundry of Medical College of Wisconsin and Dr. Richard LeDuc of NCGAS/Indiana University
Award Amount: $1 million

With the support of The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Dr. Neil Kelleher will be further exploring how human blood cells – B-cells – mature from their beginnings in our bone marrow to those that protect us from infection. Kelleher will focus on scanning and mapping the B-cell development process and how deviations can result in cancers like leukemia and multiple myeloma. By mapping this process at a high resolution, Kelleher will develop a protocol to identify markers and rules for defining cell types and their relationships, and in doing so further the understanding of human wellness and disease.

Specifically, Kelleher’s research will inform and complement other efforts toward cell-based therapies, personalized drugs and improved detection of human disease.

For more information visit: The Kelleher Research Group

Dr Michael Elowitz


Tracking Cell Fate Decisions in Single Cells

Investigator Team: Dr. Michael Elowitz, Professor of Biology, Bioengineering and Applied Physics; Dr. Long Cai, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Institution: California Institute of Technology
Award Amount: $1 million

Support from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will help Dr. Michael Elowitz and Dr. Long Cai develop a platform to extract lineage and molecular event histories from cells developing into tissues, particularly in the brain.

Dr Long Cai

Through single-cell tracking and barcoding, Elowitz and Cai will be delving further into understanding the influence of genes acting together as “circuits” on cells, and how they allow cells to switch among distinct fates in a programmed fashion.

This research will help to address one of the most fascinating questions in biology – how individual cells in a developing embryo diversify into many distinct cell types, each playing its unique role in the organism.

 

For more information visit: The Elowitz Lab


Dr Jay ShendureCell Lineage Defined by Mitotic Recombination

Investigator Team: Dr. Jay Shendure, Associate Professor Department of Genome Sciences; Dr. Marshall Horwitz, Professor, Pathology, and Adjunct Professor, Genome Sciences
Institution: University of Washington School of Medicine
Award Amount: $1.2 million

With support from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Dr. Jay Shendure and Dr. Marshall Horwitz are pursuing a new approach for mapping cell fate – how a cell becomes one type or another.

Dr Marshall HorwitzRather than trying to decode the history of each cell among the trillions in the human body, Shendure and Horwitz are relying on the inevitable accumulation of specific types of mutations in the genome that occur during cell division. These mutations leave a unique signature that can be much more efficiently analyzed than counting and mapping each cell.

The long-term vision of this project is to enable a 4D visualization of the developmental histories and lineage relationships of the trillions of cells in an individual human being.

For more information visit: ShendureLab

 

 

Investigators & Fellows

Our founders, Paul Allen and Jody Allen, believe in supporting investigators who are tackling challenging questions, because that's what leads to major discovery.

read more