Elaine Jones of Allen Institute for Brain Science to speak at WWU Oct. 2

BELLINGHAM – Elaine Jones, chief operating officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, will present a talk at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2 at Western Washington University that will cover basic advancements in the field of neuroscience, highlight the world-renowned Allen Brain Atlas projects and discuss the Allen Institute’s unique business model.

Jones’ talk, titled “A Business Model for Changing the World,” will be held in Room SL 150 in the SMATE Building on campus.

Earlier Friday, a panel discussion on “Women and Leadership” will be held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Communications Facility, Room 120. Panelists will include: Elaine Jones; Maja Chaffe, general counsel; and Carol L. Thompson, program manager, all from the Allen Institute for Brain Science. The panel moderator will be Kristi Tyran, WWU associate professor of Management.

There also will be a reception at 4:30 p.m. that day at the Western Gallery, which is presenting artist Geraldine Ondrizek’s “The Sound of Cells Dividing” as its first major exhibition of the 2009-2010 academic year.

The talk by Elaine Jones, the panel discussion and reception all are free and open to the public.

The event is co-sponsored by the Karen W. Morse Institute for Leadership and Western’s Behavioral Neuroscience program and is part of a meeting of neuroscience experts from Washington State and British Columbia that will be hosted by WWU on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Over the last 15 years, Microsoft co-founder, investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen has had an increasing interest in the brain and how it works. In the earlier part of this decade, he gathered top scientists from around the world and asked, “What is the one thing that will make the biggest difference in the field of brain science?”  The answer: create a 3-D reference atlas of the genes expressed in the brain – a project similar in scope and implication to the human genome project.

As a result, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a nonprofit medical research organization, was launched with $100 million in seed money from Paul G. Allen, and opened its doors in September 2003. It completed its inaugural brain atlas project in 2006 and then went onto starting three new projects ­– a spinal cord atlas, a developmental mouse brain atlas and the revolutionary human brain atlas.

Elaine Jones’ expertise extends to restructuring operations, establishing financial strategies and improving the effectiveness of corporate marketing. She has focused on start-up and turnaround situations, as well as the integration of acquisitions. Previously, she was chief operating officer for The Picower Institute for Medical Research in New York; vice president of Marketing and senior vice president of operations for PHH, a Fortune 500 service organization; and has had assignments in the medical field at Beckman Instruments, Nichols Institute and Genzyme.

Maja Chaffe has broad legal experience across several industries. Previously, she was vice president and associate general counsel at Expedia, Inc.; an associate in the corporate and securities practice group at Preston Gates & Ellis (now K&L Gates), and in the legal department at Todd Shipyards Corp.

Carol Thompson’s initial work at the Allen Institute led to the creation of a public database on sleep deprivation, and the discovery of novel subdomains of hippocampus. Thompson, who has a doctorate in Biochemistry from the University of North Carolina, currently oversees the Allen Developing Mouse Brain Atlas, a free resource characterizing gene expression from embryo through old age.

Western’s Behavioral Neuroscience Program is an interdisciplinary program offered through the combined efforts of the Biology Department in the College of Sciences and Technology and the Psychology Department in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Janet Finlay is director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program.

The Karen W. Morse Institute for Leadership, named in honor of WWU President Emeritus Karen Morse, is an interdisciplinary institute that supports and expands Western's goal to develop graduates who are well prepared to exercise responsible leadership in their chosen careers and communities. Joseph Garcia is director of the institute.