Paul Allen is again dolling out a huge chunk of money to fuel scientific research.
The Microsoft co-founder announced today that he is making a $100 million contribution to help create the Allen Institute for Cell Science, a new Seattle-based non-profit organization that will study how information coded in our genes becomes a living cell, and what goes wrong in a disease.
“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,” Allen said in a statement. “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 institute will be led by Executive Director Rick Horwitz, who spent 10 years as the Director of the Cell Migration Consortium and the past 15 years in the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
The organization’s first project is the Allen Cell Observatory, which will “produce a dynamic, visual database and animated models of cell parts in action that integrate information from across the cellular and molecular sciences.”
“Generating an integrated view of the cell with predictive power is an enormous task, and the Allen Institute for Cell Science will have the advantage of housing its large-scale efforts all under one roof,” Horwitz said in a statement. “This singular effort will make the integration of technology, models and data both more straightforward and more powerful.”
The new institute will make its data, models, and tools available online. It will be located in the new seven-story, 270,000 square-foot Allen Institute building in South Lake Union that is set to open in fall of 2015 and will also house the Allen Institute for Brain Science.
This is yet another non-profit funded by Allen to further scientific research. The Allen Institute for Brain Science launched 11 years ago and has received $500 million from Allen. The 61-year-old last year also helped launch and fund the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a multi-million dollar effort led by CEO Oren Etzioni that could have big implications for the Seattle’s tech industry and, more importantly, society as a whole.
On top of that, Allen donates money via the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which just last week awarded $5.7 million to seven researchers in the artificial intelligence field as part of the most recent Allen Distinguished Investigator Program grant. The Seattle Seahawks owner also donated $100 million to the Ebola fight this past October.