Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech Celebrates 5th Anniversary; Launches Innovative New Program to Give Young Neuroscientists an Edge

Program equips neuroscientists with Artificial Intelligence and Data Science skills to help them interpret the vast amounts of data generated in the lab.


Pasadena, Dec 6, 2021. Celebrating its five-year anniversary, the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech today announced the creation of the Center for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The new Center, which will be co-directed by world-renowned Professors Lior Pachter and Pietro Perona, is made possible with the support of husband-and-wife philanthropists, Tianqiao Chen and Chrissy Luo. Its mission is to help young neuroscientists acquire and improve the skills needed to analyze and interpret the vast amounts of data generated by their lab experiments.


“We have seen the Institute achieve tremendous momentum since it was created,” said Chrissy Luo, co-founder of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute (TCCI®). “Caltech continues to push the envelope and now this program, which will help young neuroscientists work better with the data they’re generating in the lab, will only accelerate their work over the next five years.”


“Emerging neurotechnologies are generating enormous datasets, including extended recordings of brain activity, animal behavior and other modalities,” explains David J. Anderson, Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology, Director and Leadership Chair of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech. “The analysis and interpretation of such ‘big data’ is a real and present challenge to the researchers who generate it, many of whom are not formally trained in data science or machine learning.”


The new Center will run a number of programs including:


  • An annual, 4-6 week immersive workshop for students who bring their own data and learn to analyze and interpret it with personalized instruction from both Caltech and external faculty.
  • A Chen Visiting Scholar program to bring faculty who are deeply engaged in data science and AI from other intuitions to inject a breadth of perspective and expertise.
  • Paid summer internships at academic or non-profit research centers specializing in data science and AI.
  • Graduate Student stipend support for second-year students whose projects are heavily dependent on data science and AI


“The Chens continue to identify forefront areas of science and societal import.  We are very grateful for their continuing investment in young scholars and new technology.”


Since it was announced in 2016, the Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech has held symposia and retreats which have attracted world-renowned neuroscience experts. It has created programs to support women in the field of neuroscience and foster diversity in the student population.  Earlier this year, construction of the award-winning Chen Neuroscience Research Building was completed. The building was designed to exemplify TCCI’s core beliefs that by supporting young scientists, encouraging interdisciplinary research, and fostering rich collaboration within the global science community, the world will move closer than ever to understanding the mysteries of the human brain.


Read the Caltech anniversary publication