Skip to main content

Allen Institute President and Chief Executive Officer, Allan Jones, Ph.D., announces plan to step down in 2021

Today the Allen Institute’s founding CEO, Allan Jones, Ph.D., announced he will step down after nearly 18 years with the organization.


4 min read

Allan Jones, Ph.D.
Allan Jones, Ph.D.

Today the Allen Institute’s founding CEO, Allan Jones, Ph.D., announced he will step down after nearly 18 years with the organization. In 2003, Jones joined the Institute in its planning stages, was promoted the next year to lead the science mission, then became the first Chief Executive Officer in 2010.

Jones will continue to serve as President and CEO until his replacement arrives, at which time he will join the Allen Institute’s Board of Directors and will be honored by the title President-Emeritus.

Since the early days of the Allen Institute, Jones partnered with co-founders Paul G. Allen and Jody Allen, as well as the Board of Directors and external science advisors to build one of the most highly respected research institutes, with influence across the globe in brain science, cell science, and immunology. With a focus on impact, and years of pharmaceutical industry experience prior to joining the Allen Institute, Jones developed an organizational culture that brought dedicated scientists from multiple disciplines together to conquer scientific challenges at scale, followed by sharing products and resources (data, tools, knowledge) openly with the world. This unique approach to basic research became known as Big Science, Team Science, Open Science.

Jones had this to say about his time leading the Allen Institute, “It has been an honor of a lifetime to help build and lead such an incredible organization. I want to thank Paul Allen and Jody Allen for giving me the opportunity to serve this wonderful organization, and I want to thank the dedicated Allen Institute staff who gave life to a vision and who are serving the world through their work.”

Since its launch in 2003, the Allen Institute grew into a thriving organization with a staff of more than 500, including 180 Ph.D.’s, all providing resources to the global scientific community. Inspired by Paul G. Allen’s commitment to tackling hard problems, Jones provided steadfast leadership to build a team that would take on those problems to ultimately advance the understanding of human biological science.

Reflecting on Jones’ contributions, Jody Allen said, “When we created the Allen Institute, we knew it would take a bold and courageous leader to guide and grow the organization, bringing together some of the world’s best scientists in pursuit of impact at scale. Allan shared that vision from the beginning and brought many years of consistent and strong leadership, for which we are all extremely grateful. His passion for the work and commitment to the Institute’s mission will surely inspire new discoveries in our next chapter.” Similar sentiments were shared by members of the Board of Directors who credit Allan Jones with tremendous leadership that accelerated the growth and impact of the Allen Institute.

Allan Jones’ Allen Institute Career Summary

From 2003 to 2006, Jones helped guide development of the Institute’s inaugural project, the Allen Brain Atlas, which created a map of the mammalian brain at the cellular level. This atlas is cited in thousands of publications worldwide and remains the Institute’s most popular resource.

With momentum from the Brain Atlas success, Jones led the Allen Institute in pursuing opportunities to increase the organization’s impact through grant funding. This growth was a primary focus from 2006 to 2011, and during his tenure Jones oversaw more than $150 million from external sources.

As the Institute continued to grow at a rapid rate, Jones turned his attention to establishing the Allen Institute’s international presence. From 2011 to 2014 he became the Institute’s chief ambassador, delivering the Allen Institute message to audiences at the United Nations, World Economic Forum, and the White House, to create opportunities for greater scientific impact.

Beginning in 2014, the Institute’s growth rate accelerated, and Jones worked to ensure that the organization was positioned to deliver the data, tools and knowledge the world was now expecting from the Institute. This massive undertaking included: the launch of new units focused on cell science, immunology and a team dedicated to surveying the scientific landscape to fund emerging areas of biological science research, now known as The Paul G.  Allen Frontiers Group; establishing a long-term operating framework; and developing a new 270,000 square-foot life science facility that brought the Allen Institute research entities together to better leverage the work and their collective impact in a collaborative environment.

In 2021, Jones will launch his last major initiative as President and CEO as the Allen Institute ushers in its next phase of discovery, focused on research related to neural computation and dynamics.

About the Allen Institute

The Allen Institute is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit medical research organization founded by philanthropist and visionary, the late 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

Science Programs at Allen Institute