Department of Molecular Hematology, Lund University
Photo of Joan Yuan
project title

High resolution mapping of fetal and adult B cell fates during ontogeny

funded by

Erling-Perssons stiftelse

The vertebrate immune system has evolved for hundreds of millions of years into a balanced and self-regulatory system encompassing a wide spectrum of cell types that act in concert to protect us from infections.

Most of what we know about the formation of the immune system comes from studies in adults but much less is known about the coordinated series of events that build up the immune system from scratch in the developing fetus. Mutations occurring before birth in immune cells of the developing baby remain the main cause of cancer related deaths in children. Cancers of the immune system, leukemia, are furthermore of different kinds in infants and children compared to adults. These and other clues suggest that fetal immune development may be significantly different from that in adults.


In the project FatemapB, we will use two advanced tracking technologies to follow the behavior of fetal and adult immune cell development. The state-of-the-art strategies will allow for the high-resolution visualization of how a diverse immune system is first formed in the fetus and then maintained throughout adulthood. Extending beyond normal development, this work has important clinical implications to improve our understanding of fetal specific leukemia. Finally, we have developed a technology to reinitiate fetal like immune development in adult blood stem cells and will within the scope of FatemapB explore the ability of this technology to improve immune regeneration following bone marrow transplantation treatments.


Awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2016 and an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2023.

June 2015

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