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Allen Institute for Brain Science announces newly created scientific advisory board

Board to provide expert input as the Allen Institute defines its overall scientific agenda

August 28, 2007 | Download PDF

The Allen Institute for Brain Science, a non-profit medical research organization dedicated to performing innovative basic brain research and freely distributing its discoveries to researchers worldwide, today announced the formation of the new Allen Institute Scientific Advisory Board.

The Scientific Advisory Board members will provide expert advice to help the Institute define and advance its overall scientific agenda.

"We are absolutely thrilled to convene such an experienced and diversified range of scientists to help inspire the future direction of the Allen Institute," said Allan Jones, chief scientific officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. "The appointment of the new board is an important milestone for the Institute as we chart our course beyond the Allen Brain Atlas project."

The world-renowned scientific board will include five members of the Institute's existing Allen Brain Atlas Scientific Advisory Board, which was formed to support the Institute's inaugural project, the Allen Brain Atlas, a Web-based three-dimensional map revealing where over 21,000 genes are expressed in the adult mouse brain. Four new board members will also join.

"Building on the success of the Allen Brain Atlas, the Institute will undertake additional large-scale projects designed to help accelerate fundamental discoveries by the greater scientific community in areas such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, neurodegeneration and autism. The board's members will provide key expertise and third party perspectives to help the Institute test its ideas and identify scientific initiatives with the greatest potential to impact research on the brain in health and disease," said Marc Tessier-Lavigne, chairperson of the Institute's Scientific Advisory Board, a world leader in the study of brain development, and senior vice president, research drug discovery at Genentech.

"Scientific advisory boards have been a key element for success within the Institute's distinctive, project focused business model," said Elaine Jones, chief operating officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. "As new projects are defined, the Institute Scientific Advisory Board will be joined by additional project-specific scientific advisory councils. This unique approach allows us to explore all facets of each major project and identify the most meaningful directions for our research."

The members of the new Institute Scientific Advisory Board include:

David Anderson, Ph.D., professor of biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at the California Institute of Technology, has been a member of the faculty since 1986. Dr. Anderson's research focuses on the mechanisms whereby stem cells generate the diverse specialized cell types of the developing nervous system. In 1992, Dr. Anderson's laboratory achieved the first isolation of a multipotent, self-renewing stem cell for neurons and glia from a vertebrate embryo. More recently, Dr. Anderson's group has begun to shift its focus from neural development to the study of behavior. An initial goal has been to use molecular genetic techniques to map the neural circuits that mediate innate and learned fear. Dr. Anderson has received many awards for his work and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Anderson is also member of the Allen Brain Atlas Scientific Advisory Board.

Thomas Daniel, Ph.D., Joan and Richard Komen Endowed Chair of Biology at the University of Washington, member of the Neurobiology and Behavior Faculty, and adjunct professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, has served as a faculty member since his initial appointment as assistant professor in the Department of Zoology in 1984. Dr. Daniel has received notable honors and awards for his research and teaching, including selection as a MacArthur Fellow in 1996 and multiple teaching awards from the University of Washington.

Catherine Dulac, Ph.D., Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Harvard University, also has a joint appointment in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Dulac's laboratory is currently investigating the molecular basis of the sensory coding of pheromone signals in the olfactory system. Her work utilizes the tools of molecular biology and mouse genetics to uncover the neural basis for specific behaviors in the mammalian brain. Dr. Dulac is also member of the Allen Brain Atlas Scientific Advisory Board.

Christof Koch, Ph.D., Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology at the California Institute of Technology, has served on the faculty since his initial appointment as assistant professor, Division of Biology and Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences in 1986. Dr. Koch has published extensively, and his writings and interests integrate theoretical, computational and experimental neuroscience. Stemming in part from a long-standing collaboration with the late Nobel Laureate Francis Crick, Dr. Koch authored the book, "The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach."

Steven Paul, M.D., executive vice president of science and technology and president of the Lilly Research Laboratories of Eli Lilly and Company, has responsibility for all research and development at Lilly. His research activities have established an important role for specific neurotransmitter receptors in mediating the central actions of various neuroactive drugs. He is currently working on novel therapeutic approaches to treating Alzheimer's disease. He has authored or co-authored over 500 papers and invited book chapters, and was recently listed as one of the most highly cited scientists in the world. Dr. Paul is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Paul also serves as a member of the Allen Brain Atlas Scientific Advisory Board.

Michael Stryker, Ph.D., William Francis Ganong professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, has been a faculty member since his appointment as assistant professor in 1978 and served as department chair from 1994 to 2005. Dr. Stryker has received several awards and honors for his research, including appointment as the Galileo Galilei professor of science at Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy and the highly selective MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time Award), which provides support to outstanding researchers who have demonstrated superior research competence and productivity. Dr. Stryker's primary research interest is in the role of neural activity in the development and plasticity of precise connections within the central nervous system.

Joseph S. Takahashi, Ph.D., Walter and Mary Elizabeth Glass professor in the Life Sciences and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Northwestern University, holds appointments as professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Physiology on the Evanston campus and professor in the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University Medical School. He also serves as director of the Center for Functional Genomics at Northwestern. Dr. Takahashi has pioneered the use of forward genetics and positional cloning in the mouse as a tool for discovery of genes underlying neurobiology and behavior, and his discovery of the mouse and human clock genes led to a description of a conserved circadian clock mechanism in animals. He is the author of more than 195 scientific publications, the recipient of many awards, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Takahashi is also member of the Allen Brain Atlas Scientific Advisory Board.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., senior vice president of Research Drug Discovery at Genentech, oversees disease research, translational medicine and drug discovery in cancer and tissue growth and repair at Genentech. Until 2003, he was the Susan B. Ford professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Tessier-Lavigne is a world leader in the study of brain development and regeneration. He and his colleagues have pioneered the identification of molecules that direct the formation of connections among nerve cells to establish neuronal circuits in the mammalian brain and spinal cord. The recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Tessier-Lavigne is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) and a Fellow of the Royal Society (UK). In addition to his role as chairperson of the Allen Brain Atlas Scientific Advisory Board, which oversaw the direction of the Allen Brain Atlas project, Dr. Tessier-Lavigne is chairperson of the new Allen Institute Scientific Advisory Board.

Phyllis Wise, Ph.D., provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Washington, is the university's chief academic and budgetary officer, serves as deputy to the UW president and provides advice and assistance to him, the Deans and the faculty. As professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Biology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Provost Wise continues an active research program in issues concerning women's health and gender-based biology. She has been particularly interested in whether hormones influence brains of women and men during development, during adulthood and during aging. Dr. Wise's service as a member of the Institute's Scientific Advisory Board is independent of her responsibilities to the University of Washington.

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