2015 Year in Review
December 17, 2015
It has been a busy year at the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Between new products, new global collaborations, scientific publications, news features and a brand new building, we have shared exciting science and made major strides toward understanding the brain and its components. Here are some notable accomplishments of the past year.
We debuted a new product.
- We launched the Allen Cell Types Database in May with data from single cells in the mouse visual cortex. This new product is our first step toward creating a taxonomy of cells in the brain, helping to understand the brain’s function by understanding its fundamental components.
- We also launched our second Science Vignette, which uses gene expression data to classify cells in a beautiful interactive animation.
We completed an atlas.
- Our final major updates to the Ivy Glioblastoma Atlas Project marked the completion of a collaborative project that will enable researchers to better understand and seek treatments for deadly brain cancer.
We moved into our brand new headquarters.
- This fall we moved our operations to the beautiful new Allen Institute headquarters in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle. Watch our launch video, read the press release, watch video of our Open House program and view photos of our grand opening. You can even take a 360-degree tour of our new building (works best on a mobile device).
We led major community efforts in the field of neuroscience.
- We launched the global collaborative BigNeuron project to propel forward the state of the art in single neuron reconstruction. We also hosted our first BigNeuron hackathon in Seattle.
- We were a key part of the alliance of brain researchers that launched Neurodata Without Borders: an effort to create a common language to share neuroscience data. Read the press release on the Neurodata Without Borders website.
- We grew our Next Generation Leaders program with the introduction of our second class of young neuroscientists who will advise the Allen Institute for Brain Science and serve as global ambassadors.
We published in major scientific journals.
Allen Institute for Brain Science researchers published more than 50 papers in 2015 in journals like Neuron, Cell, Journal of Neuroscience, Nature Neuroscience and many more. Here are some highlights of our 2015 publications.
- Neuron: New tools to probe cell types in the brain
- Science: Revealing the networks that guide brain function
- Nature Neuroscience: Decoding the patterns that make our brains human
- Nature Methods: Treasure hunting for rare cell types in the developing human brain
We grew our technologies and approaches.
- We grew our synapse biology team and brought array tomography to the Allen Institute. Watch our Virtual Tour and read our news story.
- We expanded our electrophysiology program and pioneered new protocols to study living human cells in a dish. Watch our Virtual Tour of the electrophysiology program and our Brain Waves feature on recording from multiple cells at once.
- We worked on technology that enables us to translate the brain’s signals.
- We created models of the brain and its cells to better understand how it works as a whole.
- We made major strides in understanding traumatic brain injury.
- We investigated the best ways to publish our data in visual formats that make our big science beautiful. Learn more in our Brain Waves video.
- We explored how our brains construct the visual world that surrounds us. Watch our video on YouTube.
We hosted events and trained scientists around the world.
- We held our second Showcase symposium, featuring two days of presentations from our team members and new Next Generation Leaders. See presentations, team talks and lightning talks on our YouTube playlist and view photos from the event.
- We co-hosted the Summer Workshop on the Dynamic Brain with the University of Washington, bringing together students from around the world to learn how to navigate the rich datasets produced by the Allen Institute.
- We were a major presence at the 2015 Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago, presenting more than 60 posters and speakers in several events and symposia.
- We trained scientists around the world on how to use our resources in their research. We had trainings in four residential courses, three regional neuroscience symposia, three conferences, two universities and embedded training content into three college neuroscience courses.
We made the news.
The Allen Institute for Brain Science was prominent in the news in 2015. You can see all of our news coverage on our website. Here are the top 10 stories of the year.
- January 17 - Discover Magazine - TOP 100 STORIES OF 2014 #18: Building the Mouse Brain Mega Map
- March 31 – Nature – Neuron encyclopedia fires up to reveal brain secrets
- May 14 – WIRED – A First Big Step Toward Mapping the Human Brain
- May 15 – The Los Angeles Times – New for brain scientists: a census of neurons
- May 27 – NBC News – Tumor Atlas Combats Deadly Cancer
- September 10 – The Economist – VIDEO: What is consciousness
- September 30 – The Washington Post – Paul Allen’s $500 million quest to dissect the mind and code a new one from scratch
- November 16 – NPR – A Genetic Map Hints At What Makes A Brain Human
- December 1 – The Seattle Times – New building to boost research firepower at Paul Allen’s brain institute
- December 1 – Boston Globe: STAT – Brain research gets a new nerve center at Allen Institute headquarters
Our scientists also wrote two stories in the Huffington Post: