Paul G. Allen Gives $100 Million to Create Cell Science Institute

Philanthropist and entrepreneur Paul G. Allen today announced a commitment of $100 million to create the Allen Institute for Cell Science in Seattle. Founded to investigate and model the complex living machinery of cells, the nonprofit Allen Institute for Cell Science and its inaugural project, the Allen Cell Observatory, will accelerate disease research around the world by creating and sharing reagents, data, and dynamic, predictive models of cells.

“Cells are the fundamental units of life, with every disease we know of affecting particular types of cells,” said Mr. Allen. “Scientists have learned a great deal about many of the 50 trillion cells in our bodies over the last decades, but creating a comprehensive, predictive model of the cell will require a different approach. We conceived of the Allen Institute for Cell Science as a catalyzing force to integrate technologies and approaches at a large scale in order to provide an exceptional resource for the entire scientific community. It is our hope that this effort will bring forward the treatment of different diseases.”

The Allen Institute for Cell Science will take a multidisciplinary, team science-driven approach to understanding a fundamental and yet elusive question in cell science: How does information encoded in our genes become three-dimensional living cells, and what goes wrong in disease? The inaugural project, called the Allen Cell Observatory, will produce a dynamic, visual database and animated models of cell parts in action that integrate information from across the cellular and molecular sciences.

Rick Horwitz will serve as the Executive Director of the Allen Institute for Cell Science. He served for 10 years as the Director of the Cell Migration Consortium, an NIH-funded multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary collaboration for studying cell migration, and spent the past 15 years in the Department of Cell Biology, as a Harrison Distinguished Professor and University Professor, at the University of Virginia, School of Medicine, where his lab investigated the mechanisms of cell migration and dendritic spine morphogenesis.

To read more, go to Allen Institute for Cell Science.