My human cell map illustration MeCell now in the public domain

2 min read – My learning resource for students of the human cell available now for free in English, Spanish, Chinese and German.

MeCell Cell Map

In 2016 I created a highly detailed DIN-A1 illustration of the human cell and its biochemestry. The project was called MeCell (“Me” was short for “menschliche” which is German for human). MeCell was driven by my enthusiasm for how the human cell is uniquely suited to be explained on a big sheet of paper – and some annoyances the usefulness for students of other illustrations that existed during my medical studies.

Creating the MeCell cell map easily took >1000h. I sat in our university library looking through large stacks of biochemistrry books to find the best illustrations. I puzzled hours how to best arrange them so that everything fit well together. This video captures the process with some epic background music:

I’m super greatful for the collaboration with my brother, my dad, and my med-school friend Linn on this project who helped with illustration and shipping of the final product across the country. I also coded up a Google Maps version where you could zoom into the cell map and click on sections that were linked to Wikipedia.

I stopped the project in in 2019 after ~5,000 MeCell maps were distributed to students and cell enthusiasts in Germany. You can check-out our old website here. It was just too time consuming to handle all the administrative overhead and when I eventually started as a clinician scientist.

Today I announce that all of this work is now under public domain. The full illustration is available on Wikimedia Commons now. To increase the accessibility I got the cell map translated in English, Spanish and Chinese in addition to the original German version. (2024-04-29 Note: The uploader is causing me headaches and I’ll try again in a couple of days to upload all versions to Wikimedia).

Wikimedia Commons does not allow for Affinity Designer file formats, so I provide them here on my website: English, Chinese, Spanish, German.

This post officially closes this MeCell as a project for me and I am deeply grateful for all our supporters in the past 🙏