Defining the plasticity of myeloid cells in health and disease by single cell omics

Professor Joachim L. Schultze, Professor for Genomics & Immunoregulation, The Life and Medical Sciences (LIMES)-Institute Founding Director of the PRECISE Platform for Single Cell Genomics and Epigenomics, The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases and the University of Bonn.

Seminar Synopsis

Myeloid cells including dendritic cells, monocytes, macrophages and granulocytes play important roles in tissue homeostasis and their functional deviation is a major contributor to most if not all major diseases our aging societies are currently facing. Classical omics approaches on bulk samples have recently established that the functional heterogeneity of myeloid cells in context of different tissue and organ locations is associated with different epigenetic and transcriptional programming. Furthermore, any deviation from tissue or organ homeostasis is reflected in epigenetic and transcriptional changes in myeloid cells. In fact, these cells are capable of rapidly inducing input-specific transcriptional programs illustrating their enormous plasticity. Single cell resolution analysis now allows us to understand whether such changes are uniform within a myeloid cell compartment or whether individual cells of the myeloid compartment can fine-tune their responses even further.

Prof. Schultze will present some of the single cell omics (SCO) date derived from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as an example for how chronic inflammatory diseases shape the myeloid cell compartment. Furthermore, he will illustrate new SCO technologies allowing for a more sophisticated fine mapping of the myeloid cell compartment under homeostatic conditions, and lastly, he will give an example of how we can introduce changes over time into SCO analyses. Overall, the resolution, SCO techniques provide us, will have significant changes on our definitions and understanding of major diseases and thereby will shape novel diagnostic and therapeutic options.

About the Speaker

Joachim L. Schultze is Professor for Genomics & Immunoregulation at the Life and Medical Sciences (LIMES)-Institute and Founding Director of the PRECISE Platform for Single Cell Genomics and Epigenomics at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases and the University of Bonn. He went to Medical School at the University of Tübingen, spent almost 10 years at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, in Boston before he returned to Germany with a Sofia Kovalevskaya Award of the Humboldt Foundation. He is the coordinator of the national DFG-funded NGS competence centers in Germany, one of the speakers of the West German Genome Center, and one of the speakers of the only German Excellence Cluster in Immunology: ImmunoSensation. He contributes his expertise to several EU consortia, amongst them SYSCID. He is an expert in macrophage biology and works at the interphase between immunology, genomics and the computational sciences. With his team he was the first to apply memory driven computing to genomics research. With his own research group and the PRECISE platform, his goal is to bring single cell technologies and machine learning approaches to the clinical arena. He is leading several programs on applying single cell technologies to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer or HIV. He has established research collaborations with MedImmune (now AstraZeneca), Boehringer Ingelheim, HPE and BD.