Allen Institute for Brain Science Welcomes Peter Saggau as Director of Research Engineering
Newly created position will pioneer novel technologies to investigate the workings of the brain
August 21, 2014 | Download PDF
The Allen Institute for Brain Science announces the appointment of Peter Saggau, Ph.D., as the Senior Director of Research Engineering. In this newly created position, Saggau will work closely with research scientists to create the new technologies required to investigate how the brain works.
“Peter’s innovative history in both technology and neuroscience make him an excellent and welcome addition to our team,” says Allan Jones, the Allen Institute for Brain Science’s chief executive officer. “We have already had a chance to see Peter’s ideas at work in the context of our research, and are looking forward to seeing what new contributions he will make.”
Saggau has already brought two of his major engineering projects to the Allen Institute, where they are being rapidly embraced and adapted by the research teams. At the Baylor College of Medicine, Saggau developed a highly advanced laser scanning technique called “random access scanning,” which allows scientists to both optically stimulate and record from many different individual neurons at the same time, providing insight into how neurons behave not just as individuals, but also as systems. He has also pioneered improvements in digital microscopy that use structured illumination patterns to make substantial improvements in the resolution of microscopic images without resorting to shorter wavelength UV rays, which can damage biological tissue.
“Previously, the instruments I developed always came out of the needs of my own lab,” explains Saggau. “But now, I have the chance to work collaboratively with many research scientists and help them determine what new technologies they need to ask their questions more effectively. Then, we can address how to create those new tools for them.”
Saggau comes to the Allen Institute from the Baylor College of Medicine, where he was a Professor and Principal Investigator in the Department of Neuroscience. He earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Munich and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering/Cybernetics from the Technical University of Munich.
About the Allen Institute for Brain Science
The Allen Institute for Brain Science is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit medical research organization dedicated to accelerating the understanding of how the human brain works in health and disease. Using a big science approach, the Allen Institute generates useful public resources used by researchers and organizations around the globe, drives technological and analytical advances, and discovers fundamental brain properties through integration of experiments, modeling and theory. Launched in 2003 with a seed contribution from founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, the Allen Institute is supported by a diversity of government, foundation and private funds to enable its projects. Given the Institute’s achievements, Mr. Allen committed an additional $300 million in 2012 for the first four years of a ten-year plan to further propel and expand the Institute’s scientific programs, bringing his total commitment to date to $500 million. The Allen Institute’s data and tools are publicly available online at www.brain-map.org.