While he is most recently known for his leadership in quickly responding to the 2014 Ebola outbreak with a $100 million commitment, Paul G. Allen has long supported innovative responses to a range of global health issues. From mapping the human brain to addressing gaps in knowledge, he invests in programs and research that fill gaps and pave the way for collaborative solutions. Our belief is that the world must respond quickly and aggressively in confronting infectious diseases to prevent their escalation from outbreak to epidemic. We also seek to provide the tools needed to understand how the human body works and share access to that knowledge so that new preventions and cures can be developed.
Innovative Approaches: Tackling the world’s toughest challenges using novel approaches are key to dealing with evolving threat of infectious diseases in new ways. We support innovative research into some of the world’s most deadly diseases, from using new technologies to rapidly detect poliovirus in water and sewage, to a grant that helps scientists track the passage of the Ebola virus between wild ape populations in the Congo. We are investing in research that intersects the overlap between infectious disease response and prevention.
Public Engagement: Vulcan Productions shares incredible stories in unique ways in order to raising public awareness of health issues. Storytelling and awareness are two vital steps in illustrating the importance of global health topics. The critically acclaimed and award-winning series This Emotional Life explored the human desire and struggle for happiness, while a partnership between Vulcan Productions and the Gates Foundation resulted in the PBS documentary Rx For Survival on what makes us sick, keeps us healthy, and what it would take to give good health the upper hand. The Oscar-nominated short Body Team 12 shared the story of the fearless “body teams” in West Africa, whose critical and dangerous work collecting the bodies of the deceased helped curb the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
Foundational Data: Collecting and generating robust data and sharing what we learn with the world is integral to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application to global health. Open science is a core principle of the Allen Institutes, ensuring that we are leveraging our diverse experience to tackle the toughest health challenges; from the Allen Brain Atlas to the Allen Cell Types Database. Recent Allen Distinguished Investigator grants went to pioneering research on Alzheimer’s disease, neuronal maturation and cell lineage barcode. We also support similar endeavors at universities and institutes, such as a research program in tuberculosis at Seattle Biomedical Research Institute and the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health at Washington State University.