Research Highlights

cellPACK – a new tool to build complex systems


In collaboration with QB3 Fellow Graham Johnson at UCSF, NBCR investigators Art Olson and Michel Sanner have developed cellPACK, a new software tool to build increasingly complex systems. CellPACK, published recently in Nature Methods, enables researchers to construct mesoscale systems with new levels of detail and realism, addressing a major challenge for researchers who are interested to integrate data across diverse scales of biological organization. A full press release can be found here.

CellPACK is a biological packing algorithm optimized to pack molecular structures and other data types into biological volumes. CellPACK creates 3D models of the cellular mesoscale. In this image cellPACK generates an editable model of HIV by packing from a recipe of molecular ingredients1 into the ultrastructure of an HIV envelope surface. Image created by Graham Johnson ( and Ludovic Autin (