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Allen Institute names two new executives

Todd Peterson, Ph.D., joins as Chief Scientific Officer and Lauren Hackett, MPA, as Chief Operations Officer

January 30, 2019 | Download PDF

undefinedLauren Hackett, MPA, and Todd Peterson, Ph.D.

The Allen Institute today announced it has hired two new executives: Todd Peterson, Ph.D., joined the Institute in December as Chief Scientific Officer, a newly created position, and Lauren Hackett, MPA, joined the Institute last week as Chief Operations Officer.

Peterson has more than 35 years of experience in life sciences, both in academic research and in biotechnology research and development. Most recently, he was Chief Technology Officer at Synthetic Genomics, Inc., a biotech company in La Jolla, California. At the Allen Institute, Peterson will oversee translational efforts and long-term strategy for all four of the Institute’s divisions.

Hackett comes to the Institute with more than 20 years of experience in executive administration at academic medical centers and research institutes. Most recently, she was the Executive Director of Administration and Chief Business Officer at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Hackett will oversee all operations at the Allen Institute.

“I’m thrilled to have Lauren and Todd join our executive leadership team,” said Allan Jones, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Allen Institute. “Their experience and vision will be critical in steering the course of the Allen Institute as we continue our progress in bioscience and as we branch into new areas of research, as exemplified by the recent launch of the Allen Institute for Immunology.”

Prior to working at Synthetic Genomics, Peterson led R&D for Synthetic Biology at Life Technologies (now ThermoFisher) and held several leadership and research positions in other biotechnology companies. His industry experience has helped prepare him for a position overseeing the type of large-scale and multi-disciplinary science undertaken at the Allen Institute.

"The biggest impact comes from tackling the biggest problems. To have that as part of our foundation at the Allen Institute really sets the tone for the work here and the caliber of researchers it attracts,” Peterson said. “This position was a rare opportunity and particularly compelling to me.”

Before her position at Vanderbilt, Hackett had senior leadership roles at the NYU Cancer Institute at New York University Langone Medical Center and the Yale Cancer Center at Yale University School of Medicine.

“The Allen Institute — with its mission to answer large-scale questions and to accelerate bioscience research around the world — is a unique framework for me to serve our community as we expand into translational research,” Hackett said.

About the Allen Institute

The Allen Institute is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit research organization founded by philanthropist and visionary Paul G. Allen. The Allen Institute is dedicated to answering some of the biggest questions in bioscience and accelerating research worldwide. The Institute is a recognized leader in large-scale research with a commitment to an open science model. Its research institutes include the Allen Institute for Brain Science, launched in 2003, the Allen Institute for Cell Science, launched in 2014, and the Allen Institute for Immunology, launched in 2018. In 2016, the Allen Institute expanded its reach with the launch of The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, which identifies pioneers with new ideas to expand the boundaries of knowledge and make the world better. For more information, visit

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