Rating: Excellent

Strong Points: Users can explore every facet of the project, download data, and order cell lines


The Allen Institute, perhaps best known for its atlases of the brain, has expanded its scope to include descriptions of human cell types and how they differentiate, compiled in the Allen Cell Explorer. The website describes the experimental process in detail, from isolating induced pluripotent stem cells, to transfection and FACS sorting, up to the microscopy techniques used to visualize the cells. The Visual Guide to Human Cells included on the site allows users to explore different cellular functions, such as waste removal and growth, in three dimensions. A catalog of the cells used in this project includes information about the fluorescently tagged lines themselves and provides ordering information so that researchers can use them in their own labs. All of the methods used by the Institute in this project are readily available, as are videos, tutorials, and their software and code. The Allen Cell Explorer is well-designed and easy to use, and provides a wealth of open-access information for scientists.