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Allen Institute and Google team up to build platform exploring the immune system

Published in Tech News, Theories & Scenarios, Tools.

The Allen Institute for Immunology unveiled a new interactive platform on Wednesday to showcase the human immune system, the Human Immune System Explorer.

Built in partnership with Google, the explorer is a central place for researchers and the public to find analysis tools, resources and data. The platform adds to the growing toolkit of similar resources across the Allen Institute, such as the Allen Cell Explorer and the Allen Brain Map.

It’s also the first time the Allen Institute has leveraged Google’s cloud offerings like Vertex AI to build such a platform. Google’s team meets weekly with institute researchers. “They’ve just been deeply committed to working with people in the Allen Institute,” said Paul Meijer, director of software development, database and pipelines at the immunology institute.

As the platform matures, Meijer anticipates it will be broadly used by immunology researchers worldwide, who will add their data to the platform. It will track different cell types, molecules and other aspects of immunity in healthy people and in people with conditions like COVID-19 and cancer. Here are some of the platform’s current features:

Protocols describing how to gather molecular and clinical data over time in the same person.
A data visualization app called TEA-seq that captures three types of data simultaneously from single immune cells: proteins on the cell surface, RNAs inside the cell, and ‘epigenetic’ information suggesting which genes are active.
An interactive data visualization tool showing how delays in sample processing affect immune cells.
A way to visualize multiple types of patient data from different time points, called PALMO (platform for analyzing longitudinal multi-omics data).