The IRDB received funding from the Borne Foundation to understand the biological events at the origin of the transition from pregnancy to established labor.
Premature birth affects 15 million babies worldwide and in the UK 60,000 babies are born prematurely each year. It is the leading cause of infant mortality worldwide, and many of the babies who survive are disadvantaged by chronic illness or disability. Yet pregnancy is one of the least explored aspects of human biology, and research remains largely uncoordinated and underfunded.
The research, led at Imperial by Professor Phillip Bennett, director of the Institute for Reproductive and Developmental Biology (IRDB) in the Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, aims to design and validate a revolutionary methodology to develop a cell atlas and document the regulatory networks on which the pathology of preterm labor can be mapped.
The Borne Uterine Mapping Project (BUMP) was conceived after its founder consulted clinical and scientific experts to identify what was holding back the advancement of research on preterm births. The group identified a strategic opportunity to facilitate the systematic and open access study of the biological interactions between different cells and tissues of women during the transition to work.
Julian Mylchreest, president of Borne, described BUMP as “a project that will seek to map the uterus and create a cell atlas that can facilitate a radical shift in our knowledge of the mechanisms of preterm labor and new approaches to its prediction and its prevention ”.
Commenting on this award, Professor Bennett said: “On behalf of my collaborators at the University of Cambridge, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the European Bioinformatics Institute and University College London, we are delighted to have received this funding. Our study brings together global experts in systems and cell biology, multi-omics, data integration and preterm birth to study several potential regulatory systems, cell-cell interactions and target tissues in carefully characterized subjects to understand how these factors interact. regionally and temporally as the uterus prepares for labor.
Professor Mark Johnson, Founder of Borne, said: “Childbirth is the inevitable maturation event at the end of pregnancy, and we don’t know why labor is sometimes started prematurely, often with devastating lifelong consequences. about the baby and his family. Preterm birth research is underfunded and under-coordinated, and we are excited to take the first steps towards realizing our vision of an open-access uterine cell atlas – what we call BUMP – a reality.
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