Privacy Notice for Human Cell Atlas

Effective Date: this notice was last amended on 21 November 2023

This Privacy Notice explains how and why Human Cell Atlas collects and processes your personal data when you access our website or access data from the Human Cell Atlas Data Portal (the “HCA Data Portal”). It also describes your data protection rights, including a right to object to some of the processing which Human Cell Atlas carries out. More information about your rights, and how to exercise them, is set out in the “What rights do I have?” section.

If you think data about you has been included within the Human Cell Atlas research resource, please read the Privacy Notice for Donors here.

1. Who controls your personal data and how to contact us?

The controller for the Human Cell Atlas is:

Human Cell Atlas Inc.,
415 Main St Cambridge
MA, 02142-1027
United States

Our email address is When this notice talks about “we” or “us”, it refers to Human Cell Atlas Inc.

2. What personal data is collected? How do we use this personal data?

Personal data means any information about an individual from which that person can be identified. We may collect, use, store and transfer different kinds of personal data:

  • If you register for an account: identity data including first name, last name, job title and contact details
  • If you sign up for the newsletter or other updates: contact details and information about your communication preferences.
  • If you sign up for a membership: contact details, job details, affiliation, and information about your research interests.
  • When you ask for our support: identity data including name, email address, organization, job title, date and time request sent.
  • When accessing the HCA Data Portal: we collect information about the device you’re using to access the Services, including what type of device it is, what operating system you are using, device settings, unique device identifiers and crash data. Whether we collect some or all of this information often depends on what type of device you are using and its settings. For example, different types of information are available depending on whether you are using a Mac or a PC, or an iPhone or Android phone. To learn more about what information your device makes available to us, please also check the policies of your device manufacturer or software provider.
  • When you visit our website: we collect log data, which includes your Internet Protocol address, device type, operating system, browser type and some settings, unique device identifiers, crash data, the date and time of your request, and information about how you used the Service. Depending on how you are accessing the Services, we may also use “cookies” (small text files stored by your computer when you visit our website) or similar technologies.

Please see our cookie notice for further details.

3. What is the lawful basis for processing personal data?

We will use your personal data for the following purposes:

To conduct our business and pursue our legitimate interests, in particular:

  • To respond to any enquiry or support request you make.
  • Where you are granted managed access to data in the Data Portal, we will process your registration details in order to provide you access to the data.
  • To monitor use of our website and the Data Portal, and use your information to help us monitor, improve, and protect our products, content, services and websites, both online and offline.
  • To publicly publish information to facilitate scientific research.
  • To characterize, connect and communicate with the community of HCA researchers, including to connect HCA researchers with interested third parties, to facilitate scientific research.
  • In connection with legal claims, compliance, regulatory and investigative purposes as necessary (including disclosure of such information in connection with legal process or litigation).

Where you give us your consent:

  • To provide you with our information and updates about our work, new services, and developments that you may be interested in via our newsletter and other communications
  • To improve our website.

Withdrawing consent or otherwise objecting to direct marketing

Wherever we rely on your consent, you will always be able to withdraw that consent, although we may have other legal grounds for processing your data for other purposes, such as those set out above. In some cases, we are able to send you direct marketing without your consent, where we rely on our legitimate interests. You have an absolute right to opt-out of direct marketing, or profiling we carry out for direct marketing, at any time. You can do this by following the instructions in the communication where this is an electronic message, or by contacting us using the details set out above.

4. Who will have access to your personal data?

The personal data listed above will be disclosed to authorised staff of Human Cell Atlas and authorised staff of suppliers to Human Cell Atlas, such as the data hosting provider and other technical support or advisors. Certain limited information, including name, email and affiliation, may be disclosed openly on the web or to interested third parties (including partners, funders and technology vendors) for purposes of facilitating scientific research. We may also need to share your Personal Data as required to respond to lawful requests and legal process; to protect our rights and property and those of our agents, customers and others, including to enforce our agreements and policies; and in an emergency, to protect our institutions and the safety of our students, faculty and staff or any third party.

If your Personal Data is shared with a third party, we will require that the third party use appropriate measures to protect the confidentiality and security of your Personal Data.

5. Will your personal data be transferred to other countries and/or international organisations?

Human Cell Atlas uses data storage facilities provided by AWS and Google in the United States. Human Cell Atlas relies on Standard Contractual Clauses issued by the European Commission to safeguard the data being transferred to the United States. Please contact us if you would like a copy of this.

6. Security

Human Cell Atlas takes appropriate physical, administrative, and technical measures to protect Personal Data that are consistent with applicable privacy and data security laws and regulations.

7. How long do we keep your personal data?

We will only retain your personal data for as long as reasonably necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for. After that time your personal data will be erased (unless we have the statutory right or obligation to keep this data).

This means for example that where we process personal data for marketing purposes or with your consent, we process the data until you ask us to stop and for a short period after this (to allow us to implement your requests). We also keep a record of the fact that you have asked us not to send you direct marketing or to process your data so that we can respect your request in the future.

For membership records, personal data will be retained for as long as you are a member and, thereafter, for the period during which any claims may be brought. If you register for an account, we will keep information about you for as long as you have an active account and, thereafter, for the period during which any claims may be brought. We consider your account to become nonactive if you have not used it in the last three years.

8. Rights regarding your personal data

You have the right to ask us for a copy of your personal data; to correct, delete or restrict (stop any active) processing of your personal data; and to obtain the personal data you provide to us for a contract or with your consent in a structured, machine readable format, and to ask us to share (port) this data to another controller.

In addition, you can object to the processing of your personal data in some circumstances (in particular, where we don’t have to process the data to meet a contractual or other legal requirement, or where we are using the data for direct marketing).

These rights may be limited, for example if fulfilling your request would reveal personal data about another person, or if you ask us to delete information which we are required by law to keep or have compelling legitimate interests in keeping.

To exercise any of these rights, you can get in touch with us – or our Data Protection Officer – using the details set out below. If you have unresolved concerns, you have the right to complain to an EU data protection authority where you live, work or where you believe a breach may have occurred.

9. Contact

If you have any comments or questions regarding this Privacy Notice or about the processing of your personal data, please contact us at or our Data Protection Officer at