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December 18, 2017

First Asia Human Cell Atlas meeting held in Okinawa

From November 30 to December 1, the first Human Cell Atlas Asia meeting was held in Okinawa, Japan. A group of 51 scientists from twenty-three national institutes and universities across Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and India, met at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) to establish a coordinated framework for the Human Cell Atlas in Asia.

Human Cell Atlas (HCA) is an international consortium led by world-leading research institutes including Broad Institute (USA), Wellcome Trust/Sanger Institute (UK), Karolinska Institute (Sweden), and RIKEN (Japan). The project aims to create comprehensive reference maps of all human cells as a basis for understanding human health and disease. The consortium strongly emphasizes human diversity - defined by gender, genetics, geography, environment and age. The HCA Asia meeting in Okinawa was the first step to bringing together leading scientists and funders (including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI)) to make the Asian Human Cell Atlas a reality.

The meeting was started with a welcome by Piero Carninci of the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies (CLST), while global HCA efforts were introduced by Jay W. Shin (CLST). The two are both organizing committee members of the HCA consortium.

Dr. Carninci said “This is a great first step for us to unite Asian countries through the HCA network. We will work hard to further enhance this activity to create an Asia-specific atlas in the future”.

The meeting covered a wide range of topics including important diseases in Asia, cancer, imaging and genomics technologies, stem cells, aging, and collaborative projects.

A detailed summary of the meeting can be found here. A shorter version is here.

Group photo

The participants

Piero Carninci speaking

Piero Carninci leads a discussion.