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Allen Institute for Brain Science

Understanding the complexities of the brain by characterizing and mapping brain cells with unprecedented precision and scale.

Goals and Approach

A group of scientists doing an experiment in the lab at the Allen Institute for Brain ScienceHow many brain cell types are there? What is their form, function, and how do they connect? Teams at the Allen Institute for Brain Science are working to answer these foundational neuroscience questions. By cataloguing and genetically profiling cell types of the brain with incredible precision and detail, we are working to improve our fundamental understanding of brain development, evolution, and disease.

Using a team science approach, we are exploring the mammalian brain at a molecular level and sharing our insights with the world. We do this through advanced single-cell molecular analysis techniques, such as single-cell RNA sequencing and electrophysiology, combined with cutting-edge imaging technologies that provide a comprehensive view of how our brains are organized; what their cellular makeup is; how those cells connect, develop, and function; and the complex relationship between these factors.

Meet our teams

Meet Our Advisors

Brain Science Data Tools & Research Highlights 

We’re defining and analyzing the different cells that make up the mammalian brain to better understand how our brains work, how they develop, and what goes wrong in disease. Using a big, team, and open science approach, we share our discoveries, data, and resources with the broader scientific community to catalyze breakthroughs.

By examining brain cell types and connections across species at a refined level and at the most comprehensive scale – we are working towards understanding the structure and function of the human brain itself.

Hongkui Zeng Allen Institute Headshot

Meet our teams

Leading and organizing institute-wide efforts in deciphering the cellular and circuit organization of the mammalian brains, and how it changes in development, evolution, and diseases.

Meet the team

Driving breakthroughs in neuroscience through advanced computation, data management technologies and collaborative open data sharing 

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Establishing connections between morphoelectric characteristics and transcriptomic-defined cell types

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Characterizing cellular diversity in the nervous system of humans and other mammals to study disease, evolution and brain function.

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Exploring the diversity of cell types in the brain using a variety of microscopy and image processing techniques.

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Leading an effort toward comprehensive molecular analysis of cell type identity in the mouse brain and building state-of-the-art transgenic and viral tools to experimentally access those cell types.   

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Investigating the cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying changes in cortical physiology with behavior.

Investigating the neuroanatomical architecture of the brain at the population and single cell level.


Learn more about our other Scientific Programs.

Allen Institute for Cell Science

The Allen Institute for Cell Science is focused on exploring and understanding human cells — the incredibly complex building blocks of our bodies.

Learn More

Allen Institute for Immunology

The Allen Institute for Immunology works to understand the delicate balancing act of the human immune system—how it works when we’re healthy, and what goes wrong in disease.

Learn More

Science Programs at Allen Institute