The human protein atlas blog

The face of Image of the Week

Cell Atlas Cell cycle Imaging Proteomics

Devin Sullivan

Over the last couple of months, you have hade the pleasure to see Image of the week here on the blog, where an image we find particularly interesting has been shown and discussed. Now that our Cell Atlas is out, you can browse images of your favorite protein directly in our database! In addition to all the images we have added, there are also new "Human Cell" chapters, which provide a knowledge-based analysis of the human cellular proteomes and an entry into the Human Protein Atlas from different perspectives.

But, coming back to the Image of the Week, we thought you might be interested in the person behind these posts: Devin Sullivan!

Devin is a postdoc in the Cell Profiling group who started his scientific career with studies in chemical engineering and later received a PhD in computational biology where he specialized in image analysis.

– Actually, I did not know biological image analysis was a field of science until I stumbled upon it, he says.

After defending his thesis, Devin came to Sweden and Stockholm to work for associate professor Emma Lundberg.

– My advisor in the US, Robert Murphy was collaborating with her, so when she was looking for a postdoc he recommended me, and so here I am!

In Emma Lundberg´s group, Devin has been working on the model of the cell cycle, trying to predict how protein expression changes over the course of the cell cycle. To understand how proteins act together and when they are expressed is important for many diseases, including cancer.

– We use a proteomics approach to the cell cycle, where we take already existing images and build a model to predict where in the cell cycle each cell in the atlas is and then correlate the changes in protein signal with cell cycle position, Devin explains.

In addition to the work on protein expression during the cell cycle, Devin has been the point person for Project Discovery, the citizen science project where players in the massive multiplayer game EVE online help scientists in the Cell Atlas and protein atlas users by categorizing protein patterns from images of cells into different categories of subcellular structures in the cell.

– We work together with CCP games and Massively Multiplayer Online Science (MMOS) to put images into the game, and the gamers help us to annotate the images. I get the data back and make the analysis of how well they are doing and get the data into our database. The enthusiasm of the gamers has been very motivating. Sometimes when you work in the academia it is easy to not realize the impact of your work, but in Project Discovery we have really seen people get exited about our work, Devin says.

Explore the human cell!

Frida Henningson Johnson

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