Cell Science


“Our teams will use and build some of the most exciting, dynamic tools in cell science.”

-Rick Horwitz, Executive Director


As humans, our lives begin as a single cell, growing to 50 trillion cells in adulthood. Each of these cells is a microcosm of complex, living machinery. Recent advances have yielded remarkable insights into how many of the individual pieces of cellular machinery function. But understanding how they work together to produce a living cell—and how those cells interact to form living organisms—requires an entirely different approach.

Launched with a contribution from Paul G. Allen in 2014, the Allen Institute for Cell Science will serve as a catalyzing force to integrate diverse technologies and approaches at a large scale in order to study the cell as an integrated system: something that traditional academic labs cannot do. Our inaugural project, the Allen Cell Explorer, will be a novel visual, dynamic, predictive model of the cell that will accelerate cell biology and biomedical research.

Since every disease relates to the behavior of specific kinds of cells in the body, understanding the fundamentals of cell behavior and gaining insight into how defective behaviors arise is crucial to fighting disease in a meaningful way.