Highlights from the Allen Institute for Cell Science in 2018

December 20, 2018

In 2018, the Allen Institute for Cell Science saw new advances toward their goals to better understand the basic building block of human life: the cell. Read on for highlights of the past year:

A new way to see inside live human cells

undefinedIn May, the Allen Institute for Cell Science team debuted the Allen Integrated Cell, the world’s first predictive and comprehensive model of a live human stem cell. Built from the team’s large collection of microscopy images taken of gene-edited, fluorescently tagged human stem cell lines, the visualization tool incorporates two different computational models that predict the shape and location of cellular structures.

Alongside the Allen Integrated Cell, the researchers also rolled out the Visual Guide to Human Cells, a 3D interactive tool to help scientists, educators and students understand what a dynamic cell truly looks like.

Learn more in our press release on the Allen Integrated Cell and our news story on the Visual Guide to Human Cells.  

Machine learning technique to predict cells’ organization

One of the models that feeds into the Allen Integrated Cell is known as label-free prediction. Developed by modeling biologists at the Allen Institute for Cell Science, the method trains computers to find structures inside living cells without fluorescent labels, using only black and white images generated by brightfield microscopy. The researchers published a study in September in the journal Nature Methods describing the new tool, which is available for anyone in the research community to use. Read more in our press release on the study.

Two years of the Allen Cell Collection

The Allen Cell Collection, a suite of human stem cells that are gene edited to fluorescently label different structures inside the cell, reached two years since its initial debut earlier this month. The collection now houses 31 different cell lines with fluorescent tags for 28 different subcellular structures, with more coming down the pike. For the first time in 2018, five of those lines are now available that tag structures specific to cardiomyocytes, or heart muscle cells, and the lines are now recently available to researchers in the for-profit community as well as the nonprofit sector.

Read more about the collection in our news story and watch a video interview with Gladstone Institutes researcher Bruce Conklin, Ph.D., whose lab developed the stem cell line that later became the foundation for the Allen Cell Collection:

Engaging with the cell biology community

Throughout 2018, Allen Institute for Cell Science researchers created several method and tutorial videos to help the research community get the most use out of the Allen Cell Collection and other resources. Check out the video tutorials here.

The Allen Institute for Cell Science also hosted the third annual Seattle Cell Science Symposium earlier this month, bringing together cell biology researchers from around the Seattle area to present and discuss their research. Also this month at the 2018 ASCB | EMBO Annual Meeting, researchers from the team presented on several topics, hosted two tech talks and a booth that featured a virtual reality demo of Allen Institute for Cell Science resources.

For more 2018 highlights from the Allen Institute, read our recaps from the Allen Institute for Brain Science, The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, Institute-wide highlights and our 2018 Annual Report.

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