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Carol Thompson head shot photo

Carol L. Thompson, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Data Management


Carol Thompson has provided scientific leadership and management at the Allen Institute for Brain Science for over 15 years. In the early days, as a follow-on to the Allen Mouse Brain Atlas, she oversaw from concept to execution, the Allen Developing Mouse Brain Atlas, a resource characterizing gene expression from the embryonic brain to the adult, and the Sleep Study, a resource that explores the many dynamic changes in gene expression induced by sleep deprivation. Beyond that, Carol has managed the build of integrated pipelines for high throughput generation of biological datasets, including hardware and software integration for neurophysiology, including calcium imaging and Neuropixels silicon probes, as well as for transcriptomics profiling and stem cell engineering, culminating in freely available community resources for neuroscience.  As the Program and Project Manager, she has supported the creation of the Allen Brain Observatory, a data resource for cellular physiological responses to visual input, and its sister project, OpenScope, which generates datasets based on proposals from the community.

Carol is interested in the power of projects that lie at the intersection of big data, biology and computation. She is currently responsible for coordinating the data ecosystem for community-generated data as part of the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) and for BRAIN Initiative Cell Atlas Network (BICAN), and is also responsible for consortium administration. Carol holds a BS in Biology from the University of Richmond and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied cryptochromes under the guidance of Nobel laureate Aziz Sancar, M.D., Ph.D.

Research Focus:

From a broad perspective, I am interested in the power of projects that lie at the intersection of big data, biology and computation. To make an impact, data must be useful, and this requires that we understand how to interpret data in the context of its provenance, the complexity of biology, and the limitations of our current knowledge and available assays.  I hope to support continuing integration of data from many sources to understand cell types and their function in the brain, and value interactions with efforts by the scientific community to harmonize efforts and extend the life and utility of the data to support deep understanding and continuing discoveries about the complex organ that makes us truly human: the brain.

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