Cell microscopy images contain a vast amount of information about the status of the cell: whether it is diseased, how it responds to drug treatment, or whether a certain pathway has been disrupted, for example. These profiles can be analyzed to identify subtle cellular patterns, potentially biologically meaningful but undetectable to the human eye.
The JUMP-Cell Painting Consortium, a group of pharmaceutical companies and non-profits, aims to create a critical mass of such cellular imaging data to empower discoveries about cell biology that can inform drug discovery and development.
The goal is to create the world’s largest public Cell Painting image set of chemical and genetic perturbations. The community will use it to identify the effect of each gene or compound on the cell’s shape or activity — creating a morphological atlas that can be referenced as a baseline in further studies. With a large reference of image-based cellular profiles, scientists could computationally compare their images to determine a drug’s likely mechanism of action or a gene variant’s impact, accelerating basic biology research and drug discovery alike.