Human Cell Atlas

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is proud to fund 38 pilot projects to help build tools and technologies for the Human Cell Atlas.

Mapping the basic units of life

The Human Cell Atlas is a global collaboration to map and characterize all cells in a healthy human body: cell types, numbers, locations, relationships, and molecular components. Once complete, it will be a fundamental resource for scientists, allowing them to better understand how healthy cells work, and what goes wrong when disease strikes. We are proud to support the following efforts to build new technologies, best practices, and data analysis techniques for the Human Cell Atlas.

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These projects seek to continue the development of technologies, many from the neurobiology field, that address the specific challenges of single cell analysis of primary human tissues. They are also benchmarking existing tools and methods against each other and across regions of the nervous system.

See the 7 Projects


These projects look at the multi-modal analysis of current methods of the immune system to develop richer single cell analysis, evaluate inter-individual variation, more reliably detect cell types of known rarity, and compare tissue-resident immune cell populations.

See the 7 Projects

Tissue Handling & Processing

These projects seek to establish best practices for processing heart tissues and other tissues that are notoriously difficult to process. Studies will test multiple protocols and methods on multiple tissues and deposit data from common sources for robust benchmarking.

See the 10 Projects


These projects study diverse approaches to preservation and processing of tissue from often sensitive organs that are critical for nutrient uptake and metabolism. Relatively little is known about the diversity of cells that comprise these tissues and differences among their distinct spatial compartments.

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Human skin has a wide range of cell types that exist in a relatively well described spatial distribution. These projects will use this empirical knowledge to generate benchmarks across assays that reveal cell type bias and also inform tissue isolation and preservation techniques.

See the 2 Projects

Technology Development

These projects will develop technology and computational tools that can increase the scale of single cell analysis, identify systematic errors among collections, and increase detection signals for sequencing and imaging.

See the 6 Projects

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