Paul Allen boosts bioscience in Science

Image: Jones and Allen
Paul Allen, at right, looks over a slice of brain tissue with Allan Jones, CEO of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. (Credit: Vulcan)

Seattle billionaire Paul Allen is making a pitch for out-of-the-box bioscience from one of the scientific community’s most respected soapboxes: the editorial section of the journal Science.

In a guest editorial, Allen argues that biological science could blossom as much in the years ahead as computer science did when he and Bill Gates founded Microsoft:

“In 1975, when relatively powerful microprocessors first became available, many young entrepreneurs — including myself — were inspired to create companies, platforms, and programming tools that helped make computing available to everyone. This in turn helped spark the information revolution. Today, thanks to the increasing sophistication, speed, and power of computer modeling and other new tools such as optogenetics and multiple forms of microscopy, we are on the brink of another revolution — this time in bioscience.”

Allen himself is putting hundreds of millions of dollars toward furthering the field, through investments in the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Allen Institute for Cell Science, the newly announced Frontiers Group and other efforts.

But the revolution is not assured, Allen goes on to say.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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