Allen completed his BSc in Biology and Mathematics at Acadia University, his MSc in cell physiology and his MD and internship at Dalhousie University, his PhD in Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto, and his clinical specialist training in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology at Toronto and Vancouver, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (FRCPC) in 1979 and a fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP) in 1980.
In 1981, Allen founded the Terry Fox Laboratory for Hematology/Oncology Research, and served as the lab’s Director for 25 years. Allen was also Professor and Head of Clinical Hematology for 18 years at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver Hospital and the BC Cancer Agency (1985-2003) during which time he spearheaded the building of the Leukemia/BMT Program of British Columbia. Allen is a recipient of the prestigious R.M. Taylor Medal of the Canadian Cancer Society (2003) and Professor Emeritus of Hematology at UBC (2006 – present). Allen was elected President of the International Society of Cellular Therapies (1995-97), President of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (1999-00) and Treasurer of the Foundation for the Accreditation for Cellular Therapies (1995-2002). He was a member of Health Canada’s Expert Working Group on the Safety of Organs and Tissues for Transplantation and of the Canadian Standards Association’s Task Force to develop standards and an accreditation process for cellular therapies and transplantation in Canada (1998-2006).