UW Bioengineering Assistant Professor Hao Yuan Kueh is a co-recipient of a grant from the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). The grant is via a pilot project program called the Human Cell Atlas, which aims to map and characterize every cell in the human body to advance knowledge of how physiological systems work together. Uniting biologists, clinicians, engineers, computational scientists and more, the project’s long term goal is to use this “map” to understand human disease, and energize efforts to create novel treatments and tools.
In its inaugural year, the Human Cell Atlas will fund 38 projects. Dr. Kueh and principal investigator Joshua Vaughan, UW assistant professor of chemistry, are the first UW recipients of a CZI award. The CZI, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan in December 2015, advances human potential and promotes equal opportunity through grant making, impact investing, policy and advocacy work. The CZI’s initial areas of focus include supporting science through basic biomedical research and education through personalized learning.
Drs. Kueh and Vaughan will use their award to develop methods to measure epigenetic states in single cells using advanced imaging techniques. Dr. Kueh’s research explores how immune cells make fate decisions as they develop from stem cells and as they respond to antigens. His work lays the foundation for engineering immune cells to fight cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Dr. Vaughan develops new tools for high resolution fluorescence microscopy, which are used to understand the molecular-scale organization of biological systems.