12 Nov 2016

Google Maps for the human body

From This Way Up, 12:40 pm on 12 November 2016

"We believe that a successful description of all the cells in the healthy human body will impact almost every aspect of biology and medicine in the decades to come." Aviv Regev

Aviv Regev

Aviv Regev Photo: (Supplied)

The Human Cell Atlas is an ambitious project that aims to map the 35 trillion plus cells in our body that make us who we are. It's been described as a Google Maps for the human body

Cataloguing every cell, which will be done by an international team of labs, will provide a much better understanding of what we're actually made up of, and how diseases start and develop.

Professor Aviv Regev of MIT in the USA and The Broad Institute is one of the lead researchers of the Human Cell Atlas project.

"The knowledge we gain has the potential to transform our understanding of the human body and some of the most serious diseases of our time" Dr Michael Dunn, Head of Genetics and Molecular Sciences at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

Get some background on the single cell analysis mentioned in the interview: