Allen Institute expands into immunology

Thomas Bumol in lab
Thomas Bumol, far left, executive director of the Allen Institute for Immunology, meets with his team prior to the institute’s launch. When fully staffed, the institute will have 60 to 70 employees. (Allen Institute Photo)

Billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen died two months ago, but before he passed away, he passed along a $125 million commitment to a new research frontier: the Allen Institute for Immunology.

The Allen Institute’s newest division, unveiled today at the institute’s Seattle headquarters, will focus on the human immune system and how it can be tweaked to fight cancer and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

“None of this would have been possible without the extraordinary vision and generosity of our late founder, Paul Allen,” Allan Jones, president and CEO of the Allen Institute, said at the unveiling. “Paul challenged us to go after the really hard problems, to unravel the complexities of biology, and make a lasting impact on science that advances health.”

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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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