Solving the mysteries of bioscience
We are an independent nonprofit bioscience research institute aimed at unlocking the mysteries of human biology through foundational science.
Foundational Science Fuels Breakthroughs
We are leaders in large-scale research that transforms our understanding of human health and disease and shapes how science is conducted worldwide.
Inspiring Next-Generation Scientists
To us, open science extends to inspiring the next generation of scientists by supporting access to science resources, research, and experiences.
Researchers are in the early stages of investigating the brain cells most vulnerable to this devastating form of dementia
Featuring Rachel Tompa
1 min read
A project newly underway at the Allen Institute aims to better understand the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease by identifying changes in the neurons and other brain cells as the disease progresses. Through collaborations with UW Medicine and Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, Allen Institute scientists are comparing brain cells across patients with different stages of the disease (using brain tissue from patients who agreed to donate their brains to science after they die) with the goal of pinpointing how and where the neurodegenerative disease starts. Their experiments will look for the specific types of neurons and other brain cells that die off or are otherwise changed in early stages of the disease. This image, captured by Allen Institute researcher Zoe Maltzer, shows brain tissue from a patient who died with Alzheimer’s disease. Bright orange specks label a molecule called phosphorylated tau, which accumulates in the brain as Alzheimer’s progresses; blue dots stain the chromosomes of every cell present in the tissue. Eventually, Maltzer and others on the team will work to combine tau labeling with labels to detect specific kinds of neurons in the same tissue.
Rachel Tompa is a science and health writer and editor. A former molecular biologist, she’s been telling science stories since 2007 and has covered the gamut of science topics, including the microbiome, the human brain, pregnancy, evolution, science policy and infectious disease. As Senior Editor at the Allen Institute, Rachel writes stories and creates podcast episodes covering all the Institute’s scientific divisions.
Get in touch at [email protected].