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Exploring the brain’s circuitry and activity

The Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics explores the brain’s activity, at the level of individual neurons and the whole brain, to reveal how we interpret our environments to make decisions.


We aim to discover how neurons’ activity – and changes in that activity – allow the brain to perform complex but fundamental computations and drive flexible behaviors.

Our experiments and open resources shed light on behavior, memory, how we handle uncertainty and risk, how we and other animals chase rewards, and how some or all of these complicated cognitive functions go awry in neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression, ADHD, or addiction.

Our Approach

How do our brains understand the world around us to guide fundamental human behaviors? To answer these questions, our scientists analyze and trace the path of neural signals in neural circuits cascading and interacting across the whole brain and body. Our approach is focused on how the brain works rather than what it is made of at a cellular or molecular level. Teams of researchers working collaboratively develop next-generation neuro-technologies that capture massive amounts of data that are shared with the wider scientific community. The goal is to catalyze scientific discovery that will lead to treatments and therapies for brain disorders.

Sculpted by evolution, the brain’s amazing, complex neural circuits produce our behavior within the world. We aim to discover how information processed by networks of neurons generates our thoughts, emotions and actions.

Learn more about our groups.

The electrophysiology group aims to monitor and manipulate spikes with high spatiotemporal specificity in order to open up new avenues for understanding the neural underpinnings of behavior. Learn more.

The Instrumentation group serves the engineering needs of scientists at the Allen Institute for Immunology. They support the technology critical to experimental platforms and develop new tools to advance the field.

Coming soon!

The multi-scale molecular anatomy group aims to generate comprehensive descriptions of neuronal types and examine connectivity at various scales in defined cell types.

Coming soon!

The mission for Scientific Computing is to accelerate scientific discovery for the AIND team and the scientific community at large, by creating a best-in-class open, reproducible, and scalable platform for scientific data storage, analysis, and sharing. Learn more.

Learn more about our other Scientific Divisions & Programs.

MindScope Program

The Allen Institute Mindscope Program uses the Allen Brain Observatory, a standardized experimental platform, to explore how transformations in the brain lead to behavior and conscious experience. The findings speak to the core of who we are as rational, emotional, and thinking animals.

Learn more

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. We use advanced technologies and work collaboratively to study the cell and its components as an integrated system.

Learn more