The human lung cell atlas: A high-resolution reference map of the human lung in health and disease

Herbert B. Schiller, Daniel T. Montoro, Lukas M. Simon, Emma L. Rawlins, Kerstin B. Meyer, Maximilian Strunz, Felipe A. Vieira Braga, Wim Timens, Gerard H. Koppelman, G. R.Scott Budinger, Janette K. Burgess, Avinash Waghray, Maarten Van Den Berge, Fabian J. Theis, Aviv Regev, Naftali Kaminski, Jayaraj Rajagopal, Sarah A. Teichmann, Alexander V. Misharin, Martijn C. Nawijn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Lung disease accounts for every sixth death globally. Profiling the molecular state of all lung cell types in health and disease is currently revolutionizing the identification of disease mechanisms and will aid the design of novel diagnostic and personalized therapeutic regimens. Recent progress in high-throughput techniques for single-cell genomic and transcriptomic analyses has opened up new possibilities to study individual cells within a tissue, classify these into cell types, and characterize variations in their molecular profiles as a function of genetics, environment, cell-cell interactions, developmental processes, aging, or disease. Integration of these cell state definitions with spatial information allows the in-depth molecular description of cellular neighborhoods and tissue microenvironments, including the tissue resident structural and immune cells, the tissue matrix, and the microbiome. The Human Cell Atlas consortium aims to characterize all cells in the healthy human body and has prioritized lung tissue as one of the flagship projects. Here, we present the rationale, the approach, and the expected impact of a Human Lung Cell Atlas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-41
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Human Cell Atlas
  • Single-cell RNA sequencing
  • Spatial transcriptomics
  • Systems biology


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