Hongkui Zeng, PhD, is Executive Vice President and Director of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Zeng received her BS in Biochemistry from Wuhan University in China. She received her PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from Brandeis University, where she studied the molecular mechanisms of the circadian clock in fruit flies. As a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she studied the molecular and synaptic mechanisms underlying hippocampus-dependent plasticity and learning. She was the recipient of the 1997 Elkins Award for outstanding graduate student and a postdoctoral fellowship from the Damon Runyon‐Walter Winchell Foundation. She was a member of the Society for Neuroscience Program Committee and the McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award Committee. She is a Board member of the Cajal Club, an Advisory Board member of Cell and Neuron, a member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC), and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences. Awards include the 2016 Award for Scientific Advancement from Association for Women in Science (AWIS), the 2018 Gill Transformative Investigator Award from Indiana University, and the 2023 Pradel Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Since joining the Allen Institute in 2006, Dr. Zeng has led several efforts to develop and operate high-throughput pipelines to generate large-scale, open-access datasets and tools to accelerate neuroscience discovery. These include the Transgenic Technology program, the Human Cortex Gene Survey project, the Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas project, and the Cell Types and Connectivity program. Her current research interests are in understanding neuronal diversity and connectivity in the mouse brain-wide circuits and how different cell types work together to process and transform information. Through her leadership of multi-disciplinary teams, they have built multiple platforms, including single-cell transcriptomics, spatial transcriptomics, single and multi-patching electrophysiology, 3D reconstruction of neuronal morphology, and high throughput brain-wide connectivity mapping, to characterize the transcriptomic, physiological, morphological, and connectional properties of brain cell types in a systematic manner, towards a multi-modal cell atlas for the mouse and human brain. These studies reveal extraordinary cellular diversity and underlying rules of brain organization and lay the foundation for unraveling mechanisms of circuit function. Her work has led to widely adopted community resources and standards, including transgenic mouse lines, the Common Coordinate Framework (CCF), and brain-wide transcriptomic cell type taxonomies and connectivity atlases.

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Primary Section

Section 24: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Secondary Section

Section 28: Systems Neuroscience