April 21-22, 2015
On April 21-22, 2015, the NIH sponsored a workshop entitled “Defining Cellular Phenotype” to assist in gaining a better understanding of functional cell types in the brain. The goals of the workshop were to share information on how investigators are currently describing cellular phenotype and to determine whether there are novel approaches to better quantify, evaluate, understand, and communicate this complex concept.
The workshop attendees concluded that the research community should work toward a consensus on which cellular features (morphological, spatial, molecular, “functional”) are measured as part of a larger effort to classify cells in the brain. At this point in the elaboration of a “theory of cellular phenotype” all agreed that the more quantifiable data and metadata generated for each of the four areas highlighted in this workshop, the more likely it is that insightful predications of biological functioning over a cell’s lifespan will be possible.
Priority areas include:
- Developing quantifiable measures
- Gathering dynamic information related to cellular phenotype
- Increasing spatial knowledge of cellular environment and interactions (or connections)