Paul Allen's commitment to tackling big questions in neuroscience grows larger still. The Microsoft co-founder has already contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to brain science, much of it to the establishment of the Allen Brain Institute, a nonprofit charged with building a massive database of information about the brain. Now, seemingly from a frustration with the slow pace of discovery elsewhere in the field, Allen has committed another $300 million over the next decade to expanding his institute to include it's own lab for neuroscience investigation.
Previously, the Allen Brain Institute's mission was to provide brain "atlases" of both human and mouse brains, maps that showed various aspects of how brains work, including how various genes are expressed within the brain. The idea was to create an open-access tool for researchers that would hopefully accelerate the pace of innovation in neurological science.
The Institute has done well, Allen said in a press release, but it could do better. The new expanded ABI will tackle big questions in neuroscience concerning the way the brain stores and encodes information and what cellular building blocks underlie all brain function, the idea being that this will provide even more information to the neuroscience community and in turn drive research on the whole to more and faster innovations. If it's a shot in the arm Allen is looking for, a $300 million investment might just do the trick.