The Open Access Brain Atlas

An international team of scientists led by researchers here at Karolinska Institutet and Science for Life Laboratory in Sweden has now launched a comprehensive overview of all proteins expressed in the brain, published some days ago in the journal Science. The open-access database offers medical researchers an unprecedented resource to deepen their understanding of the brain and develop new, more effective therapies and diagnostics targeting psychiatric and neurological diseases.

According to the plan, a grand release event should be held 11 March in Nobel Forum, on KI campus Solna. But due to the spread of the new coronavirus and COVID-19, this event unfortunately had to be cancelled.

As a small compensation, I post the introduction speech I was supposed to give. I hope we can join on a later occasion to celebrate the landmark work of this research team. In these most difficult of times we should continue to enjoy and celebrate groundbreaking science.

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Friends, colleagues,

It’s such a pleasure to see so many here to celebrate the publication of the Brain Atlas research in Science, as well as the world premier of two Brain Atlas-inspired videos.

Your support and enthusiasm have been so great – so expansive in fact – that we were required to move this celebration into a significantly larger space, to Nobel Forum, both to mark the importance of the occasion and to welcome everyone who was eager to attend.

The newly published open-access Brain Atlas offers a comprehensive overview of all proteins expressed in the brain, offering medical researchers an unprecedented resource to deepen their understanding of the brain and neurological diseases.

This unique research contribution is an excellent example of what our university stands for: groundbreaking research, conducted in close collaboration with national, regional and international partners, in which the resulting data is open to all, allowing scientists both in academia and industry to explore the human proteome for the improvement of human health.

I congratulate the authors and collaborators at:

  • Karolinska Institutet,
  • KTH,
  • Science for Life Laboratory,
  • Uppsala University,
  • Aarhus University,
  • University of Copenhagen, and
  • institutions in Qingdao and Shenzhen, China,

…who made this happen.

The Brain Atlas, which explores protein expression in the mammalian brain, is the latest success in a series of important initiatives within The Human Protein Atlas, led by Professor Mathias Uhlén, Professor at the Department of Protein Science at the Royal Institute of Technology, Visiting Professor at the Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet and Director of the Human Protein Atlas program.

The Human Protein Atlas was initiated in 2003 and consists of six separate parts, each focusing on a particular aspect of the genome-wide analysis of the human proteins:

  • The Tissue Atlas
  • The Cell Atlas
  • The Pathology Atlas
  • The Blood Atlas
  • The Metabolic Atlas, and now
  • The Brain Atlas

The Human Protein Atlas program, based at the Science for Life Laboratory, has already contributed to several thousand publications in the field of human biology and disease, and has become a core resource of fundamental importance for the wider life science community.

I would like to take a moment to thank our partners at the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, represented here today by Executive Director Göran Sandberg, for their ongoing generous financial support of this important work.

Congratulations to all of you.




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