ESPACE Consortium Meeting 2020: On track to build the first Human Cell atlas of the pancreas

LINQ manages ESPACE and supports the project with a wide range of communication activities. ESPACE is a two-year project funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme. The project aims to build a first version of the Human Cell Atlas (HCA) of the pancreas.

ESPACE achievements during the first year

The ongoing pandemic has posed many unexpected challenges to the project. However, the ESPACE consortium has displayed an impressive ability to adapt to the fast-changing environment and managed to achieve much since the start on January 1 this year.

After the kick-off meeting on January 30-31, all activities that were planned as in-person events have instead been conducted digitally – including both project meetings and a series of sample procurement trainings.

During the first ten months of the project, ESPACE’s scientists have produced healthy pancreas samples, made initial single-cell analyses of these samples, and made progress on setting up an IT infrastructure for the project's data storage.

LINQ's role in amplifying the reach of the project 

At LINQ, we have worked actively to strengthen the ESPACE brand and the project's online presence. We coordinated the development of a visual identity and project website, which includes a newsroom that we have produced a number of articles for. We have also designed a project fact sheet, downloadable via the project website, which provides a brief overview of the project. 

ESPACE is one of six projects in the H2020-HCA cluster in which LINQ, as told in an earlier article, plays a central role in coordinating communication and encouraging cross-project collaboration. To amplify the reach of the cluster, LINQ has, among other things, created a Social Media Strategy for the H2020-HCA projects, in collaboration with the HCA Executive Office and the Communications Team of the Sanger Institute, and produced a web page that presents both the cluster and the individual projects.

Aligning metadata with the HCA Data Coordination Platform 

In the second project year, the ESPACE team will select protein markers from the spatial analysis of cells, continue the single-cell analyses of the pancreas, and align its metadata with the HCA Data Coordination Platform (HCA DCP). Enrique Sapena Ventura and Laura Clarke from the HCA DCP guested the consortium meeting to discuss how data can be safely and effectively transferred between ESPACE and the HCA. 

Another guest at the meeting was Mauro Muraro from Single Cell Discoveries, Chair of the ESPACE Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). A follow-up meeting between ESPACE and the SAC where the SAC will provide additional input on ESPACE’s progress will be held in January 2021.