Customer Stories / Life Sciences

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Allen Institute: Building the Brain Knowledge Platform Using AWS

Learn how the Allen Institute for Brain Science is building the first complete whole brain cell atlas of the human brain using Amazon Web Services (AWS), to improve our fundamental understanding of brain development, evolution, and disease.

Developing the map of the human brain to help discover cures for neurological conditions

The brain, our most complex organ, is challenging to study. Despite decades of research, finding effective treatments for brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, remains difficult.

With funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and technology from Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Allen Institute is leading an effort to build the Brain Knowledge Platform (BKP) – the largest open-source database of brain cell data in the world.

By housing and harmonizing the data from brain cells with unprecedented precision and scale using AWS, the Allen Institute is creating a path toward breakthrough treatments of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which affect more than one in five Americans.


By creating a highly precise and high resolution map of the brain, we’re helping researchers make new discoveries, and opening new doors— not just in neuroscience, but all of medicine.”

Ed Lein, Senior Investigator, Allen Institute for Brain Science

Leveraging the cloud to map the brain’s complexity at a cellular resolution

Cloud computing is helping the Allen Institute map and characterize the enormous diversity of brain cells with unprecedented precision and scale.

With cloud technology from AWS, the Allen Institute is leading a global network of neuroscience researchers to study the brain at cellular resolution, and unlock never-before-seen insights. High performance computing, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) on AWS is helping Allen Institute manage this data at scale, and transform huge, complicated multimodal data into useful insights for doctors and researchers.

Using generative AI to uncover new territories in neuroscience

Datasets gathered for brain research are extensive, but disparate—and they often don’t exist in a universal scientific language.

See how generative AI solutions powered by AWS enables the institute to integrate data from disparate sources and modalities, revealing new insights that may have remained undiscovered otherwise. The incorporation of generative AI is helping researchers explore uncharted territories and simulate brain processes – fostering a dynamic collaboration between human expertise and machine intelligence to expand the limits of our comprehension. 


We’re entering new territories with generative AI in neuroscience. We can begin to understand how the brain actually works, and harness this knowledge for the good of society.”

Ed Lein, Senior Investigator, Allen Institute for Brain Science

Unlocking knowledge for the Neuroscience Community: Creating an open-source database of brain cell data

Neurological diseases cost the U.S. economy $1.5 trillion a year.

In this conversation, Shoaib Mufti, Data and Technology Lead at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, shares how the initiative is using AWS to create one of the largest open-source brain cell database in the world to accelerate the progress on treating brain diseases – bringing researchers together – and accelerating their mission around open science.

Read the blog »


AWS is helping us bring the global neuroscience community together, furthering our mission around open science.”

Shoaib Mufti, Data and Technology Lead, Allen Institute for Brain Science

Harnessing exabytes of data, extracting meaningful insights, and making the knowledge accessible to the neuroscience community – all on the cloud

Cloud computing is what’s enabling data from the brain’s 100 billion+ cells to be stored, analyzed, and accessed as an open source tool that will ultimately be used by the clinicians seeking treatments and cures for brain diseases.

Watch Allen Institute's presentation at the AWS Summit Washington D.C, where they share how the cloud is helping scientists pioneer advancements in research through global collaboration – catalyzing breakthroughs. 

About Allen Institute

Allen Institute is a non-profit research institute located in Seattle, Washington. Their mission is to understand the principles that govern life, and to advance health, focused on neuroscience, cell biology, and immunology research. Visit the Allen Institute website to learn more.

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