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Klarman Cell Observatory

Human diseases arise from malfunctions in the cellular processes that control physiology — a key component is missing or defective; a key "circuit" is over- or under-active. To understand disease and develop effective treatments, we need a comprehensive picture of all the cellular components and all of the cellular circuits in which they function.  

The Klarman Cell Observatory (KCO), established by Broad Institute with a grant from the Klarman Family Foundation, began in 2012 as a pilot effort to systematically define cellular circuits in mammalian cells. In its initial phase, it developed and built on breakthrough technologies and on collaborations that cut across scientific disciplines. These technologies and collaborations were a major driving force behind the launch of the international Human Cell Atlas initiative.

In its second phase, launched in 2017, the KCO is expanding from elucidating the circuits within cells to understanding how cells work together to create functional tissues and broadening its work to understand how human genetic variants perturb cellular and molecular pathways to cause disease. The KCO remains committed to open sharing of tools and data to accelerate research worldwide.

The KCO is led by Broad core institute member Ramnik Xavier, who is also the Kurt Isselbacher Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, director of the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and co-director of the Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics at MIT. The KCO was previously led by Aviv Regev from 2012 to 2020.