Microsoft co-founder Allen donates $100M to unlock mysteries of the human cell
- Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, is donating $100 million to build a center in Seattle where researchers will focus on understanding full functionality of various types of cells, from neurons, to cancer cells, to other types of cells.
- There will be a strong IT component, as part of the funds will be used to construct a comprehensive visual database and predictive model of different types of cells.
- This donation and the plan for this institute have far-reaching implications, because the research that occurs in this institute will provide scientists worldwide with much-needed new insights into cellular function as it relates to disease.
In recent years, researchers have learned a lot about how genes influence disease. But now the goal is to understand how genes influence cells and the overall relationship with disease.
Researchers at the new Allen Institute for Cell Science will investigate this issue. The sheer scope of the undertaking, which Allen has dubbed an "industrial scale" effort to understand the cell, will require hiring 70 scientists within the next three years.
Allen is a known contributor to the medical sciences. In 2003, he funded the Allen Institute for Brain Science, which has yielded important insights into neuroscience. More recently, he pledged $100 million to battle Ebola.