Human Cell Atlas

Mission

To create comprehensive reference maps of all human cells—the fundamental units of life—as a basis for both understanding human health and diagnosing, monitoring, and treating disease.

ABOUT HUMAN CELL ATLAS

In London on 13 and 14 October, 2016, a collaborative community of world-leading scientists met and discussed how to build a Human Cell Atlas—a collection of maps that will describe and define the cellular basis of health and disease.

Cells are the most fundamental unit of life, yet we know surprisingly little about them. They vary enormously within the body, and express different sets of genes. Without maps of different cell types and where they are located in the body, we cannot describe all their functions and understand the biological networks that direct their activities.

A complete Human Cell Atlas would give us a unique ID card for each cell type, a three-dimensional map of how cell types work together to form tissues, knowledge of how all body systems are connected, and insights into how changes in the map underlie health and disease. It would allow us to identify which genes associated with disease are active in our bodies and where, and analyze the regulatory mechanisms that govern the production of different cell types.

This has been a key challenge in biology for more than 150 years. New tools such as single-cell genomics have put it within reach. It is an ambitious but achievable goal, and requires an international community of biologists, clinicians, technologists, physicists, computational scientists, software engineers, and mathematicians.

A White Paper, openly available for download, provides an overview of the effort; our framework for the first draft of the atlas; descriptions of the technology and data analysis tools available to build the atlas; an introduction to the Data Coordination Platform that will host the data for researchers worldwide; a deeper look at biological systems we plan to explore and map; and details on the organization and governance of the HCA consortium and its relationships to the public (including ethical considerations regarding organ and tissue donors) and to funding support.

Learn more

Latest News

  • 10. Oct. 2018.

    HCA General Meeting, Cambridge, MA, November 1-2, 2018

    Hosted by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

     

    This meeting will focus on the work of the networks to build atlases of key organs including lung, gut, brain, immune, heart, vasculature, kidney and liver. We will hear updates on progress in data collection and analysis, discuss plans for organ-wide mapping, provide updates on the activities of the HCA Working Groups and hear about the Data Coordination Platform.

    While participation in person in the HCA General Meetings is by invitation, all are welcome to register here to join remotely. They will be listed as formal attendees. We will also be live streaming all plenary sessions and breakout sessions.

    Any inquiries regarding this meeting should be sent to meetings@humancellatlas.org.

     

    AGENDA

    Please download the provisional agenda here.

     

    LIVE STREAM

    Links to the live stream will be shared closer to date of the meeting and will be accessible by all.

     

    LOCATION

    The meeting will take place at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, US [map]

    Read more
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