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Secrets of the Cell

Billionaire Paul Allen has launched a new institute, this one aimed at examining the inner workings of the cell, Nature News reports.

Allen, who co-founded Microsoft, plans to give $100 million to the new Allen Institute for Cell Science, which is being shaped in the image of the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

According to executive director Rick Horwitz, the cell science institute will first focus on developing a 'cell observatory' similar to the brain atlases its sister institute developed. This cell observatory will show how organelles and other cellular components work over time.

Nature News adds that the institute plans to study human induced pluripotent stem cells as they differentiate into cardiomyoctyes or epithelial cells, develop a number of cell lines in which to study cellular response to drugs, infection, and other stimuli, and develop models predicting cellular response.

"Our problem is that this thing could blow up on us. It could be very, very big," Horwitz says. "We're going to make judicious decisions to try to contain it."

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