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UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute Joins Human Cell Atlas Initiative

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The University of California, Santa Cruz announced today that the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute has partnered with members of the Human Cell Atlas Initiative (HCA) to build a data-coordination platform for the program.

The HCA is aiming to create an atlas of all human cell types, using single-cell genomics approaches to produce 3D maps of how different cells function together and how changes in these networks can lead to disease. Members include researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Stanford University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the Broad Institute, and the Karolinska Institutet.

The UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute has now joined the HCA, and will work with the Broad and the European Bioinformatics Institute to build a platform to enable the initiative's researchers to easily submit large quantities of genomic and imaging data, perform robust and scalable analyses and quality-control checks on those data, and make both the data and the results of the analyses openly available, according to UCSC.

The data-coordination platform project is being supported with an undisclosed amount of funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which will also collaborate on software engineering and data infrastructure operations.

"The Human Cell Atlas is not only a fascinating and important biology project, it's also a very large computational and engineering project that is leading the way in terms of how to organize big data," Benedict Paten, a UCSC Genomics Institute researcher and one the project leaders, said in a statement. "This collaboration is bringing together a stellar engineering team to create a data commons that is maximally accessible and usable for a broad base of scientists."