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Human Cell Atlas

A comprehensive cell atlas would make it possible to catalog all types and even subtypes of cells in the body, identify where in the body they reside, and even distinguish different stages of differentiation and cell states, such as immune cell activation. An atlas would also allow researchers to map cell lineages, such as tracing a red blood cell all the way back to its stem cell origins in the bone marrow.

A cell atlas has the potential to transform our approach to biomedicine. It would help identify markers and signatures for different diseases, uncover new targets for therapeutic intervention, and provide a direct view of human biology in vivo, removing the distorting aspects of cell culture.

Broad Press Releases and News Stories

International Human Cell Atlas initiative gets underway
An ambitious global initiative to create a Human Cell Atlas - a description of every cell in the human body as a reference map to accelerate progress in biomedical science - is being discussed at an International meeting in London this week. Ultimately, the Human Cell Atlas would revolutionise how doctors and researchers understand, diagnose and treat disease.

Broad Institute-Single cell analysis hits its stride
Advances in technology and computational analysis enable affordable large-scale science, paving the way for translational studies.

Taking on melanoma, one cell at a time
Single cell analysis is now being used to probe cancer tissue — a diverse and complex cellular environment that has often stymied researchers.

Video: Cancer close up

Single cell analysis provides detailed look inside tumors.

A cellular symphony responsible for autoimmune disease

Broad researchers use single cell approaches to reveal underlying genetic heterogeneity that can sometimes lead to autoimmune disease.

Out of the lamplight
New collaborative research from Broad scientists identifies novel regulators of an important immune response pathway.

In the Media

The Atlantic: A Google Maps for the Human Body
A group of scientists has taken the first important steps towards creating the Human Cell Atlas—a complete inventory of our staggeringly diverse cells.

MIT Tech Review: Can we identify every type of cell in the body?
A microscopic quest to find out what we’re really made of.

Talking machines: Human conversation about machine learning (podcast)
Machine learning for understanding cells: an interview with Broad Core Institute Member and Chair of the Faculty Aviv Regev.

Talking machines: Human conversation about machine learning (podcast)
An interview with Broad president and founding director, Eric Lander.