1. Cell Biology
  2. Computational and Systems Biology
Download icon

Science Forum: The Human Cell Atlas

  1. Aviv Regev Is a corresponding author
  2. Sarah A Teichmann Is a corresponding author
  3. Eric S Lander Is a corresponding author
  4. Ido Amit
  5. Christophe Benoist
  6. Ewan Birney
  7. Bernd Bodenmiller
  8. Peter J Campbell
  9. Piero Carninci
  10. Menna Clatworthy
  11. Hans Clevers
  12. Bart Deplancke
  13. Ian Dunham
  14. James Eberwine
  15. Roland Eils
  16. Wolfgang Enard
  17. Andrew Farmer
  18. Lars Fugger
  19. Berthold Göttgens
  20. Nir Hacohen
  21. Muzlifah Haniffa
  22. Martin Hemberg
  23. Seung K Kim
  24. Paul Klenerman
  25. Arnold Kriegstein
  26. Ed Lein
  27. Sten Linnarsson
  28. Emma Lundberg
  29. Joakim Lundeberg
  30. Partha Majumder
  31. John C Marioni
  32. Miriam Merad
  33. Musa Mhlanga
  34. Martijn Nawijn
  35. Mihai Netea
  36. Garry Nolan
  37. Dana Pe'er
  38. Anthony Phillipakis
  39. Chris P Ponting
  40. Stephen R Quake
  41. Wolf Reik
  42. Orit Rozenblatt-Rosen
  43. Joshua R Sanes
  44. Rahul Satija
  45. Ton N Schumacher
  46. Alex K Shalek
  47. Ehud Shapiro
  48. Padmanee Sharma
  49. Jay W Shin
  50. Oliver Stegle
  51. Michael R Stratton
  52. Michael J T Stubbington
  53. Fabian J Theis
  54. Matthias Uhlen
  55. Alexander van Oudenaarden
  56. Allon Wagner
  57. Fiona M Watt
  58. Jonathan S Weissman
  59. Barbara J Wold
  60. Ramnik J Xavier
  61. Nir Yosef
  62. Human Cell Atlas Meeting Participants
  1. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, United States
  2. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, United Kingdom
  3. Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
  4. Harvard Medical School, United States
  5. EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute, United Kingdom
  6. University of Zürich, Switzerland
  7. RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies, Japan
  8. MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  9. Hubrecht Institute, Netherlands
  10. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  11. Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, United States
  12. German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
  13. Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Germany
  14. Takara Bio USA, Inc., United States
  15. University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  16. University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  17. Newcastle University, United Kingdom
  18. Stanford University School of Medicine, United States
  19. University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  20. University of California, San Francisco, United States
  21. Allen Institute for Brain Science, United States
  22. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  23. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  24. Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  25. National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, India
  26. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, United States
  27. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  28. University of Groningen, Netherlands
  29. Radboud University Medical Center, Netherlands
  30. Stanford University, United States
  31. Sloan Kettering Institute, United States
  32. University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  33. Stanford University, United States
  34. Harvard University, United States
  35. New York University, United States
  36. Netherlands Cancer Institute, Netherlands
  37. University of Texas, United States
  38. Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany
  39. University of California, Berkeley, United States
  40. King's College London, United Kingdom
  41. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, United States
  42. California Institute of Technology, United States
  43. University of California, Berkeley, United States
Feature Article
Cited
0
Views
4,367
Comments
0
Cite as: eLife 2017;6:e27041 doi: 10.7554/eLife.27041

Abstract

The recent advent of methods for high-throughput single-cell molecular profiling has catalyzed a growing sense in the scientific community that the time is ripe to complete the 150-year-old effort to identify all cell types in the human body. The Human Cell Atlas Project is an international collaborative effort that aims to define all human cell types in terms of distinctive molecular profiles (such as gene expression profiles) and to connect this information with classical cellular descriptions (such as location and morphology). An open comprehensive reference map of the molecular state of cells in healthy human tissues would propel the systematic study of physiological states, developmental trajectories, regulatory circuitry and interactions of cells, and also provide a framework for understanding cellular dysregulation in human disease. Here we describe the idea, its potential utility, early proofs-of-concept, and some design considerations for the Human Cell Atlas, including a commitment to open data, code, and community.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Aviv Regev

    Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, United States
    For correspondence
    aregev@broadinstitute.org
    Competing interests
    Aviv Regev, Senior Editor, eLife.
    ORCID icon 0000-0003-3293-3158
  2. Sarah A Teichmann

    Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom
    For correspondence
    st9@sanger.ac.uk
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  3. Eric S Lander

    Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, United States
    For correspondence
    eric@broadinstitute.org
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  4. Ido Amit

    Department of Immunology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  5. Christophe Benoist

    Division of Immunology, Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  6. Ewan Birney

    EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  7. Bernd Bodenmiller

    Institute of Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  8. Peter J Campbell

    Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  9. Piero Carninci

    Division of Genomic Technologies, RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies, Yokohama, Japan
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-7202-7243
  10. Menna Clatworthy

    Molecular Immunity Unit, Department of Medicine, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  11. Hans Clevers

    Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht, Netherlands
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  12. Bart Deplancke

    Institute of Bioengineering, School of Life Sciences, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-9935-843X
  13. Ian Dunham

    EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  14. James Eberwine

    Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  15. Roland Eils

    Division of Theoretical Bioinformatics (B080), German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  16. Wolfgang Enard

    Department of Biology II, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Martinsried, Germany
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon 0000-0002-4056-0550
  17. Andrew Farmer

    Takara Bio USA, Inc., Mountain View, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  18. Lars Fugger

    Oxford Centre for Neuroinflammation, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  19. Berthold Göttgens

    Department of Haematology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-6302-5705
  20. Nir Hacohen

    Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  21. Muzlifah Haniffa

    Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon 0000-0002-3927-2084
  22. Martin Hemberg

    Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  23. Seung K Kim

    Department of Developmental Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  24. Paul Klenerman

    Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  25. Arnold Kriegstein

    Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  26. Ed Lein

    Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-9012-6552
  27. Sten Linnarsson

    Laboratory for Molecular Neurobiology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  28. Emma Lundberg

    Science for Life Laboratory, School of Biotechnology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  29. Joakim Lundeberg

    Science for Life Laboratory, Department of Gene Technology, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  30. Partha Majumder

    National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani, India
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  31. John C Marioni

    Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  32. Miriam Merad

    Precision Immunology Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  33. Musa Mhlanga

    Division of Chemical, Systems and Synthetic Biology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  34. Martijn Nawijn

    Department of Pathology and Medical Biology, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  35. Mihai Netea

    Department of Internal Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, Netherlands
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  36. Garry Nolan

    Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University, Stanford, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  37. Dana Pe'er

    Computational and Systems Biology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute, New York, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  38. Anthony Phillipakis

    Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  39. Chris P Ponting

    MRC Human Genetics Unit, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    Chris P Ponting, Reviewing Editor, eLife.
    ORCID icon 0000-0003-0202-7816
  40. Stephen R Quake

    Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  41. Wolf Reik

    Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  42. Orit Rozenblatt-Rosen

    Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  43. Joshua R Sanes

    Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-8926-8836
  44. Rahul Satija

    Department of Biology, New York Genome Center, New York University, New York, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-9448-8833
  45. Ton N Schumacher

    Department of Immunology, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  46. Alex K Shalek

    Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  47. Ehud Shapiro

    Department of Computer Science and Applied Math, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  48. Padmanee Sharma

    Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, Houston, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  49. Jay W Shin

    Division of Genomics Technologies, RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies, Yokohama, Japan
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  50. Oliver Stegle

    EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  51. Michael R Stratton

    Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  52. Michael J T Stubbington

    Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  53. Fabian J Theis

    Institute of Computational Biology, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, Germany
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  54. Matthias Uhlen

    Science for Life Laboratory, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  55. Alexander van Oudenaarden

    Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht, Netherlands
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  56. Allon Wagner

    Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  57. Fiona M Watt

    Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    Fiona M Watt, Deputy Editor, eLife.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-9151-5154
  58. Jonathan S Weissman

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon 0000-0003-2445-670X
  59. Barbara J Wold

    Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  60. Ramnik J Xavier

    Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  61. Nir Yosef

    Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Center for Computational Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-9004-1225
  62. Human Cell Atlas Meeting Participants

Funding

The authors declare that there was no funding for this work

Reviewing Editor

  1. Thomas R Gingeras, Reviewing Editor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: March 28, 2017
  2. Accepted: November 30, 2017
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: December 5, 2017 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2017, Regev et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

Metrics

  • 4,367
    Page views
  • 1,560
    Downloads
  • 0
    Citations

Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: PubMed Central, Scopus, Crossref.

Comments

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Further reading