Brain Science 2016 Year in Review

December 15, 2016

The past year has seen new products, major events and major scientific progress for the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Here are some highlights from 2016.

We launched the Allen Brain Observatory.

The Allen Brain Observatory is the first tool of its kind to provide a highly standardized survey of cellular-level activity in the mouse visual system. With the data and tools in this resource, researchers around the world are empowered to investigate how circuits in the mouse brain coordinate while the mouse performs visual tasks, taking in and processing a wide range of visual stimuli.

We published the Allen Human Brain Reference Atlas, and mapped the mouse brain in 3D.

In September, the Allen Human Brain Reference Atlas was published as a stand-alone issue of the Journal of Comparative Neurology. The atlas is the most structurally complete map of the human brain to date, combining neuroimaging with cellular level resolution histological analysis and expert structural mapping.

We also completed the three-dimensional mapping of the mouse cortex as part of the Allen Mouse Common Coordinate Framework (CCF): a standardized spatial coordinate system for comparing many types of data on the brain from the suite of Allen Brain Atlas resources.

We began work on a project to reconstruct the brain.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) awarded an $18.7 million contract to the Allen Institute for Brain Science, as part of a larger project with Baylor College of Medicine and Princeton University, to create the largest ever roadmap to understand how the function of networks in the brain’s cortex relates to the underlying connections of its individual neurons.

We published major papers.

Allen Institute for Brain Science researchers published over 50 papers this year in journals like Nature, Science, Neuron and Cell.

We gained insight into the aging brain.

In collaboration with researchers at UW Medicine and Group Health, the Allen Institute for Brain Science has released a new online resource on Aging, Dementia and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This one of a kind resource collects and shares a wide variety of data modalities on a large sample of aged brains, complete with mental health histories and clinical diagnoses.

We hosted scientists from around the world.

We hosted this year's NeuroFutures conference, bringing together thought leaders in research, engineering, industry and clinical domains for a two-day symposium. This year's theme was "Circuit Structure and Dynamics."

NeuroFutures 2016

We also hosted our annual Showcase Symposium, featuring our hallmark team talks as well as presentations from our newest class of Next Generation Leaders.

Showcase 2016

Our Summer Workshop on the Dynamic Brain, co-hosted with the University of Washington, is a singular course that brings together students and faculty from around the world to learn how to navigate the rich datasets produced by the Allen Institute.

Our data had global impact.

In our first Data Stories video, we showed how researchers at the University of Cambridge merged data from the Allen Human Brain Atlas with MRI brain scans and made an important discovery about the teenage brain.

We made the news. 

Christof Koch and Allan Jones discussed our unique approach to big, team and open science in the journal Neuron.

News about the Allen Institute also made it into numerous media outlets, including online, print, TV and radio. Here is a sample of some of the coverage:

We fostered team science.

The Allen Institute for Brain Science has grown dramatically in the past year, continuing to embrace our team science approach that enables us to do work that cannot be done anywhere else.