The HumEn Project – University of Copenhagen

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The HumEn Project

Project title: 
HumEn-Upscaling human insulin-producing beta cell production by efficient differentiation and expansion of endoderm progenitors
Funding scheme: 
FP7-HEALTH-2013-INNOVATION-1, Collaborative project
Project duration: 
4 years, started on January 2014
Project Coordinator: 
Professor, Center Director Henrik Semb, the Danish Stem Cell Center (DanStem), Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen
Project website:

The HumEn project is supported through the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° HEALTH-F4-2013-602889 

Partner institutions:

  • DanStem, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • IDR- Institute of Diabetes and Regeneration Research, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany
  • MRC Human Genetics Unit, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • Research Center for Growth and Signalling, INSERM, Paris, France
  • Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology (IGP), Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Developmental Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Germany
  • CYTOO SA, France (SME)
  • MATERIOMICS, The Netherlands (SME)
  • MILTENYI, Germany (SME)

HumEn is part of larger, European effort. The European Commission’s HEALTH research programme recently granted funding for seven stem cell research projects. Common for these projects is the focus on understanding the underlying mechanism of the self-renewing capacity of stem cells and their differentiation into mature functional cell types suitable for various cell-based therapeutic applications.

The HumEn Project is aiming:

  • To contribute to the strategic objective of developing the knowledge, tools, and resources needed to exploit the full potential of pluripotent stem cells and apply it to human health.
  • To fulfil EU policies targeted at strengthening the competitiveness of the European economy, generating a knowledge-based economy, and solving major societal questions. Through its contribution to the development of new regenerative cell therapies.
  • To improve the future quality of life for people diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.

The scientific objectives:

The scientific objective of HumEn is to understand the balance between differentiation and proliferation in embryonic progenitor cells of the human endoderm lineage with the aim of achieving robust generation of functional beta cells from hPSCs (hESCs)/hiPSCs). Ultimately, these results are expected to be essential for up-scaled beta cell generation for cell-replacement therapy.

Technological objectives:

The technological objectives of HumEn are to develop new, innovative tools including

  • New genetically modified hESC lines to track heterogeneity of lineage choices and cell cycle that will be made widely available after completion of the project.
  • Micropatterned extracellular matrix substrates for the guidance of stem cell lineages in 3Dlike structures, compatible with High Content Imaging.
  • Topologically patterned polymers and screening services to identify optimized surfaces for cell expansion and differentiation.
  • Technology for cell and tissue dissociation, surface marker identification and magnetic cell separation of DE and PE target cells with the perspective of a clinically compliant cell production.

About HumEn:

Read more about these and other stem cell research projects at EuroStemCell.

Contact person: Project Manager Naomi Dayan,