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The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group announces two new Allen Discovery Centers

July 5, 2017

The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group today announced the creation of two new Allen Discovery Centers, one at UW Medicine and one at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Each center is funded at $10 million over four years, with the potential for $30 million over eight years.

The Allen Discovery Center at UW Medicine

Scientists have been asking questions about the ancestry and lineage of cells for over a century, but tracing the relationships between generations of cells has faced significant technical challenges. In the past several years, teams led by Jay Shendure, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Washington, Michael Elowitz, Ph.D., and Long Cai, Ph.D., at Caltech and Alex Schier, Ph.D., at Harvard have created new technologies that take advantage of modern gene editing methods to effectively trace cells as they divide, move and differentiate throughout an organism’s development.

The Allen Discovery Center for Cell Lineage Tracing will use these new technologies and paradigms to develop lineage maps for the zebrafish and mouse – the first global maps of development in any vertebrate. They will also develop genomic systems to record the molecular events that regulate development. The Center’s other investigators are Carlos Lois, Ph.D., at Caltech and Marshall Horwitz, M.D., Ph.D., UW professor of Pathology, and Cole Trapnell, Ph.D., UW assistant professor of Genome Sciences. 

Learn more about the Allen Discovery Center at UW Medicine and read the press release announcing the new Center.

The Allen Discovery Center at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School

The human brain is the product of remarkable evolutionary changes that have resulted in our ability to use language, create complex societies, pursue science and create art. While we have some understanding of the genes that separate all modern humans from other primates, none of those genes can explain changes in behavior that took place in the last 50,000 years, meaning there is no simple genetic “switch” that can explain key aspects of brain evolution.  

The Allen Discovery Center for Human Brain Evolution will take a multidisciplinary approach to this question, with the goals of identifying key genes required for human brain evolution, analyzing their roles in human behavior and cognition, and studying their functions to discover evolutionary mechanisms. Joining Walsh, who will be leading the center, are co-leads Michael Greenberg, Ph.D., and David E. Reich, Ph.D., at Harvard Medical School and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, bringing together expertise in neuronal molecular biology, human evolution, genetics and genomics.

Learn more about the Allen Discovery Center at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School and read the press release announcing the new Center.

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