SpatialConnect: linking tissue biology to the new era of single-cell spatial transcriptomics

01 May 2022 → 30 April 2026
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Molecular and cell biology not elsewhere classified
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Inflammation
    • Cancer biology
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Agricultural plant breeding and biotechnology
    • Veterinary immunology
Next-Gen Microscopy across species Spatial transcriptomics Multi-omics single-cell technologies
Project description

The novel single-cell technologies allow to determine the

genetic profile of each individual cell per organ. This way,

researchers have recently identified novel cell types and

activation states that correlate with disease progression or

specific developmental stages. However, these techniques

are carried out on digested tissue samples and dont give

any information on the precise location of cells.

Unfortunately, to fully understand how cellular biology

functions, one needs to position the cells in their spatial

context. For any cell type, in any species, one needs to

know which cells are in the vicinity of the cell of interest.

Localising cell types is typically done by antibody-based

staining and microscopy. Unfortunately, antibodies are not

always available to study specific cell types. Luckily, spatial

transcriptomic techniques can now determine the spatial

expression of multiple RNA molecules in parallel. As this

methodology is based on universal RNA detection, it is

applicable across all species: in humans, mammals and

plants. The next frontier in single-cell biology is therefore to

resolve the precise spatial location of each single cell, so

that we can finally understand the tissue architecture for

each organ and identify the local cell-cell circuits that

control cell fate and functional specialization in health and

disease across species. With the SpatialConnect consortium

we will build a cutting-edge spatial transcriptomics

infrastructure at the Ghent University.