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20 Years of Allen Impact

We are celebrating 20 years of science impact toward speeding discovery in human health and disease. 

Allen20 LogoIn 2003, the Allen Institute launched with just four employees working in a small, rented laboratory toward one audacious goal, driven by founder Paul Allen’s vision: to map an entire mammalian brain in a way the world had never seen. That project, that Allen Mouse Brain Atlas, became a hallmark for the way the Allen Institute works — cohesive teams tackling big problems in biology and sharing their findings openly to benefit all of science and humanity. Today the Allen Institute is building foundations and reaching new frontiers in our quest to fully understand the brain, the cell, and the immune system.  

Our Impact

Foundations for discovery

Allen Institute History Groundbreaking Building
Groundbreaking for the new Allen Institute Headquarters in 2015.

We believe in open science for the benefit of humanity. Since our inception, we’ve shared a total of 24 petabytes of open data resulting from all our research endeavors. That’s the equivalent amount of data to 320 years of HD-TV video. The publication describing the Allen Mouse Brain Atlas, our first large brain atlas, has been cited by more than 3,500 other scientific publications and has fueled research ranging from sleep apnea to addiction to Alzheimer’s disease.  

We share more than just data — we also make our gene-edited cell lines, plasmids, mouse lines, detailed protocols, and many other resources publicly available. Sharing foundational data and tools provides a bedrock for others in the scientific community to accelerate their research or to tackle problems they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise address. 

Our History

Science that couldn’t be done anywhere else

Rotating human neuron reconstructed by Allen Institute researchers.

Thanks to our founder’s forward-looking vision and generosity, we’re able to conduct science at a scale not possible at most non-profits. This ranges from the creation of more than 55 gene-edited human stem cell lines to six high-volume transmission electron microscopes that churn out structural data of hundreds of thousands of brain cells and hundreds of millions of synapses. We take our responsibilities as stewards of that generous, purposeful funding to heart, choosing projects that have the potential to broadly benefit the fields of neuroscience, cell biology, and human immunology. 


How we do what we do

Cell Science Researcher in the lab thawing cells at the Allen Institute
Allen Institute researcher developing open science resources to help speed discovery.

People are at the heart of everything we do at the Allen Institute. Our work aims to ultimately benefit humanity by transforming human health, and our disease-focused work at the Allen Institute for Immunology keeps the patient experience front and center. But all of our work is possible only because of the dedicated hearts and minds of our employees, a crew we call Allenites that comprises neuroscientists, geneticists, engineers, mathematicians, financial experts, HR professionals and many more — all working together to tackle big problems in biology.  

Our People

Explore key moments of impact

Science Programs at Allen Institute