An international team of scientists led by Dr. Tamal Das, faculty at TIFR Hyderabad, has been awarded the prestigious Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) research grant of approximately INR 9 crores to be spent over a period of three years. This team would be investigating how a single layer of skin cells develops into the multi-layered epidermal tissue in a growing embryo, forming the skin and lining the organs in the body. An in-depth study of the development of epidermis will be crucial in understanding chronic skin conditions, blister formation, and skin cancer.
Tamal Das (TIFR Hyderabad, India) is the Principal Investigator of the project, and Friedhelm Serwane (University of Munich, Germany) and Dapeng Bi (Northeastern University, USA) are his collaborators. The development of multi-layered epidermis and how it keeps repairing itself after injuries remains elusive. Conventionally, experiments attempting to study these questions involve imaging fixed tissues. This type of imaging leaves no room to study how the different layers of tissue shift around stacking themselves on the first initial layer of cells. To alleviate this problem, Tamal Das’s lab will be establishing a protocol for making an artificial model of skin called an epidermal organoid. Though grown in a petri dish, it would behave like actual skin. This approach would help in imaging the dynamic movement of cells, understanding the effect of genetic mutations, and measuring the forces that the tissue layers exert on each other.
The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) grant is awarded by the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO), to encourage innovative research directions in life sciences. This year, out of 716 letters of intent from research groups around the world, 32 teams received the HFSP research grant. The 32 grants include 25 Program Grants and 7 Early Career Grants. Tamal Das (PI), Friedhelm Serwane, and Dapeng Bi have received one of the Program Grants.
Press release: 15-03-2022
Content: Anusheela Chatterjee
Press coverage in Eenadu, Telangana Today and The Hindu (brief report).