Human Cell Atlas

Human Cell Atlas banner

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.

The international Human Cell Atlas publishes strategic blueprint; announces data from first one million cells
Blueprint describes path forward for cataloging every cell in the human body; cell data release to be available to research community.

Human Cell Atlas takes first steps toward understanding early human development
First 250,000 developmental cells sequenced from a range of human tissue.

Researchers post genetic profiles of half a million human immune cells on Human Cell Atlas online portal
Prior to publishing, researchers compile and make raw data openly accessible on preview version of Data Coordination Platform.

Researchers discover new type of lung cell, critical insights for cystic fibrosis
A comprehensive single-cell analysis of airway cells in mice, validated in human tissue, reveals molecular details critical to understanding lung disease.

Single-cell atlas reveals underlying building blocks of ulcerative colitis
Hundreds of thousands of colon cells offer new clues into what goes wrong in an inflammatory bowel disease and why some patients don’t respond to drugs.

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.

Nature: How to build a human cell atlas
Aviv Regev is a maven of hard-core biological analyses. Now she is part of an effort to map every cell in the human body.

Wired: The Human Cell Atlas Is Biologists' Latest Grand Project
The goal is to create a massive map of everything we know about all the cells in the human body, like the human genome did with DNA.

NPR: Biological Cartographers Seek To Map The Trillions Of Cells In The Human Body (radio)
There's an effort underway to make a new atlas of all the cells in the human body, and to describe each cell type using all the powerful tools of today's genetic technology.

STAT: Cells are the building blocks of life. Scientists are making a map to understand them. (video)
The Human Cell Atlas is an international collaboration of scientists dedicated to mapping all of the cells in the human body.