News Release

Hongkui Zeng elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Zeng was chosen for her contributions to understanding the cells and connections of the brain

Grant and Award Announcement

Allen Institute

Hongkui Zeng

image: Hongkui Zeng, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Director of the Allen Institute for Brain Science view more 

Credit: Erik Dinnel / Allen Insititute

Hongkui Zeng, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Director of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a division of the Allen Institute, was today elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences for her work to understand the cells and connections in the mammalian brain, and leading the development of tools and openly available data resources that accelerate brain research worldwide.

“I am deeply honored to become a member of the National Academy of Sciences, joining more than 3,000 brilliant scientists around the country and the world,” said Zeng. “I feel incredibly fortunate to work at the Allen Institute alongside so many amazing colleagues. Together we have made a true impact to our understanding of brain function and brain diseases, by pioneering large-scale team science and open science approaches.”

Zeng is among 120 new members and 23 international members elected to the National Academy of Sciences this year. The Academy recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and—with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine—provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

“Hongkui’s tireless dedication to solving the mysteries of the brain’s cellular make-up is an inspiration to all of us in neuroscience,” said Rui Costa, D.V.M., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Allen Institute. “Her leadership and vision for large, pioneering programs represent the epitome of team science. The impact she’s had on the Institute and on the scientific community is immeasurable.” 

Zeng joined the Allen Institute in 2006. During the last two decades, she has organized and led multidisciplinary teams to develop and operate high-throughput pipelines to generate large-scale, open-access datasets and tools to accelerate neuroscience discovery, with a focus on characterizing the cell type and circuit organization in the mouse brain as the foundation for understanding brain function and diseases. Zeng has led several key research programs including the Transgenic Technology program (gene modification); the Human Cortex Gene Survey project; the Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas (mapping connections between different regions of the mouse brain), one of the Allen Institute’s most widely downloaded and used open-data resources; and most notably, the Cell Types program to create transcriptomic (gene expression) and multimodal cell type classifications that have been widely regarded as high-quality standards in the field. Zeng is also the principal investigator on several large National Institutes of Health-funded research projects and programs, most recently as one of the principal investigators on a global collaboration through the BRAIN Initiative® Cell Atlas Network to map the entire human, macaque and marmoset brains by their cells and functions.

Earlier this year, the National Academy of Sciences awarded Zeng with the prestigious Pradel Research Award for her pioneering work in neuroscience.

About the Allen Institute
The Allen Institute is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit research organization founded by philanthropist and visionary, the late Paul G. Allen. The Allen Institute is dedicated to answering some of the biggest questions in bioscience and accelerating research worldwide. The Institute is a recognized leader in large-scale research with a commitment to an open science model. Its research institutes and programs include the Allen Institute for Brain Science, launched in 2003, the Allen Institute for Cell Science, launched in 2014, The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, launched in 2016, the Allen Institute for Immunology, launched in 2018, the MindScope Program, launched in 2020 and the Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics, launched in 2021. For more information, visit


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