The Seattle-based Allen Institute for Brain Science has announced a $300 million pledge from Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen in support of a ten-year project to expand the institute's scientific programs.
The gift from Allen will support the first four years of the institute's plan to launch three complementary scientific initiatives designed to address questions that are central to understanding how the brain works, such as how it stores, encodes, and processes information; identifying the cellular building blocks that underlie all brain function and are often targets of disease; and figuring out how those cells develop and then create the circuits that drive behavior, thought, and brain dysfunction. In launching the initiatives, the institute hopes to create knowledge of fundamental principles governing brain function, publicly sharable data, and new tools and technologies that will further accelerate progress across the global brain research community.
Allen's latest pledge boosts his total commitment to the institute he helped launch in 2003 to $500 million and will enable it to double its current staff to more than three hundred and fifty employees over the next four years.
"Paul Allen's generosity and bold vision have allowed us to build a unique organization and advance brain research in ways that wouldn't be possible otherwise," said Allen Institute for Brain Science CEO Allan Jones. "This new funding enables us to apply our structured, industrial-scale approach to science to tackle increasingly complex questions about how the brain works — questions that must be answered if we are to understand and treat autism, Alzheimer's disease, depression, traumatic brain injury, and the myriad other brain-related diseases and disorders that affect all of us either directly or indirectly."