A prototype of a static virtual cell environment combining different cytological levels is presented by the CELLmicrocosmos project. Ten years of development, starting from an initial cell animation, leading over a first educational interactive prototype, proceeding with a number of cell modeling projects. Today, approaches have been presented at the molecular, mesoscopic as well as functional level.
But instead of funding from large organizations, the driving force behind this project were students. Bachelor, master and diploma students were involved in the development of different modeling tools and 3D models. And during different student projects, even more students were involved in implementation, modeling and visualization work.
But what will be the next level? Now, the resulting projects can be used as a starting point for a collaborative project, providing a visual framework to combine and present different levels of cytological knowledge. The future key features of a virtual cell framework have to be defined.