The Human Protein Atlas: exploring human geography

30/01/2015 - 2 minutes

Some 20 years ago, before the genomic era, isolating a protein and identifying the tissue where it was present was enough to get a PhD. Swedish researchers just did it for all the proteins in the human body: the equivalent of 20,000 thesis from the pregenomic age, at a stroke.

Thanks to the ‘omics’, the analysis of large volumes of data has become effortless, combining new technologies with bioinformatics. The Human Genome Project represented a turning point that revolutionized the field: scientists all over the globe combined efforts in order to map all the genes in the human genome. Other projects followed: the Human Microbiome Project, the BRAIN initiative, and the Human Protein Atlas, amongst many others.

Funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Human Protein Atlas (HPA) started in 2003. Professor Mathias Uhlén is the coordinator of the program that has been conducted mainly in the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, with the collaboration of the Rudbeck Laboratory in Uppsala (Sweden) and Lab Surgpath in Mumbai (India).

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