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Exploring the building blocks of life

The Allen Institute for Cell Science is focused on exploring and understanding human cells — the incredibly complex building blocks of our bodies.

We use advanced technologies and work collaboratively to study the cell and its components as an integrated system. We want to understand a cell’s history and predict its future by looking at its present makeup and state. A deep understanding of cellular behavior will ultimately let us better understand and predict disease.

Cardiomyocyte cells with key structures illuminated

Studying how normal cells organize and change using our stem cell model system and 3D imaging uncovers fundamental principles in cell biology that can lead to exciting breakthroughs in diagnosing and treating disease.

The Allen Cell Explorer

Our data portal offers an unprecedented view into the organizational diversity of human stem cells. Explore publicly available large-scale 3D imaging data, predictive models and cell observations, detailed methods, and descriptions of gene-edited cell lines available for research.


Hand holding a petri dish under a microscope

Our Approach

Understanding how cells grow and develop, and being able to predict their future path, is essential for understanding human health.

In service of that aim, the Allen Institute for Cell Science generates fluorescently tagged human stem cell lines connected to important cellular processes and makes these lines available to the scientific community for research. We also generate dynamic, high-resolution 3D images of live cells and develop predictive models and analysis tools that increase our understanding of this vital building block of life.

Our teams collaborate using diverse technologies and high-impact processes to gain a more holistic understanding of the human cell.

Learn more about our other Scientific Divisions.

Allen Institute for Brain Science

The Allen Institute for Brain Science is focused on understanding the complexities of the brain by mapping its cells and cell types with unprecedented precision and scale.

Learn more

The Allen Institute for Immunology

The Allen Institute for Immunology works to understand the delicate balancing act of the human immune system—how it works when we’re healthy, and what goes wrong in disease.

Learn more