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Institute for Systems Biology Gets $6M Donation

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – An anonymous California venture capitalist and philanthropist has agreed to donate $6 million over five years to the Institute for Systems Biology toward a planned expansion and move, the hiring of additional faculty, and unrestricted research support.

The Seattle-based non-profit, biomolecular research institute said in its announcement of the donation that proceeds from the gift would "facilitate ISB's move to a new building that will double space for research and core technology facilities."

Speaking with GenomeWeb Daily News last month, ISB President Leroy Hood said the institute contemplated consolidating its two current Seattle sites into a single facility within the city that would be double its current 65,000-square-foot headquarters at 1441 North 34th St. ISB also occupies nearly 16,000 square feet nearby.

"I hope it will be on the order of a year, maybe a little longer than a year," Hood said in the interview, adding that the timing of a move was subject to several additional decisions that have yet to be made.

The consolidated facility, according to Hood, would be within the city's South Lake Union section, and accommodate additional research space and researchers: "My vision is, I'd like to grow us from 12 faculty to 20 or 22 faculty."

Part of the proceeds from the $6 million gift will go toward recruitment of additional faculty members, as well as providing unrestricted support for continuing research in areas that include the paradigm advanced by ISB and Hood that healthcare must evolve from being reactionary to being "predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory" — what Hood calls "P4 medicine."

The donation also would fund support of research efforts toward "transferring new knowledge to society," as well as biofuels and global health studies. The study of the latter through systems biology is the focus on ISB's 9th annual systems biology symposium, to be held at the institute's headquarters on April 18-19.

"Visionary donors such as this wonderful friend of ISB understand the importance of unrestricted support in the pursuit of scientific ideas that can literally change the world," Hood said in the institute's announcement. "We are truly grateful."