Neil Kelleher

Neil Kelleher

Talk Title: The Cell-Based Human Proteome Project:
Mapping Human Proteins and Their Complexes with Complete Molecular Specificity


With more than 300 papers published over the course of his career and teaching duties in two departments, Dr. Kelleher is a cross-disciplinary investigator with international impact in the field of proteomics and the discovery of new antibiotics and anti-cancer molecules from the microbial world. The Kelleher group invents new methods to understand how human cells work at the molecular level. Northwestern’s Proteomics Center is generally regarded as one of the leading lab in “Top Down” Proteomics, an approach to measure proteins and their complexes with absolute molecular specificity. If we as a species want to gain knowledge of self and all the benefits that go along with the “domestication” of cells and molecules, then mapping the universe of protein molecules with improved precision will improve all the 21st Century goals of biomedical research including personalized drugs, designer organs, and early detection of human disease.


The Cell-Based Human Proteome Project seeks to define and map detectable proteoforms all throughout the human body, allowing us to improve proteomics technology and revolutionize our understanding of how wellness and disease manifests at the level of protein composition in human biology. Building on the successes of the Human Genome Project, the existing drafts of the Human Proteome, and the Human Cell Atlas, the Cell-Based Human Proteome Project (CB-HPP) also offers a transformative next step in our ability to understand and improve human health through more precise mapping of protein compositional space. In this brief talk, Neil will share the vision ahead for the CB-HPP, including pilot level progress, supported by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation (the Human Proteoform Atlas) and the Consortium for Top Down Proteomics, in clinical research in areas such as organ transplantation, heart disease, and cancer. The core of the CB-HPP involves mapping of 1 billion proteoforms throughout the human body for $1 each, and a brief TEDx talk describing the project is available here: