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.

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Latest News

  • 17. Mar. 2017.

    Next two Human Cell Atlas meetings announced

    Following on from the successful meeting held in California in February, the Human Cell Atlas community is planning two further meetings.

    The first meeting will focus on computational methods and will be hosted by the Karolinska Institute and held in Stockholm, Sweden on 1–2 June 2017.

    The second meeting will be a general meeting hosted by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel on 18–19 October 2017.

    Information about these meetings will be posted on the Meetings page of this site.

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