Chang Zuckerberg Initiative Grant for human Neurolipid atlas

07 September 2020

A collaboration between the group of Rik van der Kant (FGA) and Martin Giera (LUMC) has been selected for funding by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Neurodegeneration Network. In the first phase of their project, the researchers will receive $150.000 to establish an atlas of the human lipidome in iPSC-derived neurons, astrocytes and microglia in controls and subjects with mutations associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Over the last years, genetic, epidemiological, and cell biological data has implicated lipid and cholesterol metabolism in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases. However, lipid biology remains an understudied area of research as there are technical complexities with the application of lipidomic methods to human tissues. The project by van der Kant and Giera aims to analyze the lipidome of human iPSC-derived neurons and glia, gene-edited for specific disease variants, and will generate the first map of disease-specific, genotype-specific and cell type-specific changes in the human lipidome associated with neurodegenerative diseases. The project will help to understand how lipids can drive early pathogenic steps in neurodegenerative diseases, and can guide the development of novel therapeutics targeting these lipids.

The project is among 30 selected for funding under the collaborative pairs pilot projects awards in 2020. 10 of these projects will subsequently selected for an additional 4 years of funding, totaling a total amount of $1.4M in funding. The group of van der Kant will also become part of the Chang Zuckerberg Initiative Neurodegenerative Challenge Network, with regular international meetings and active collaboration between groups working on neurodegenerative diseases. Other researchers with an interest in lipid metabolism and neurodegenerative diseases are invited to contact Rik or Martin, as they are actively looking for new collaborators on this project.