Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason

A Message from the President and Executive Director

Dear Friends,

This has been a year of many pioneering developments, from our labs to the clinic, to new partnerships and collaborations, to an expansion in the number of people we are privileged to help. Benaroya Research Institute (BRI) continues to push the frontiers of medical research with world-class scientists and game-changing discoveries in autoimmune and related diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, peanut allergy and breast cancer. Guiding BRI into the future is our new five-year strategic plan, built on the vision of a healthy immune system for every individual.

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Key to our success in that research endeavor is our expertise to collect and analyze biorepository samples from patients and healthy individuals. Our biorepositories support all our work with “on-demand” human samples that allow our scientists to have a scientific question in the morning and the samples to test their hypothesis that afternoon. Studying samples from healthy individuals helps us learn what defines a healthy immune system and how to rebalance it when something goes awry, as in autoimmune and immune-related disease.

A new partnership with the Allen Institute for Immunology will extend this work, providing an unprecedented baseline of knowledge about the healthy human immune system to serve as a foundation for research to understand disease.

We’ll also be fulfilling a 2018 grant to assemble one of the first biorepositories focusing on the Down syndrome (DS) community and exploring the connections between DS and autoimmunity.

Understanding the fundamentals of immune system health through major partnerships is at the core of our strategic plan. Our mission is widening in scope to encompass new categories of immune health and disease, along with impacts of immune system interventions.

Our enhanced abilities involving technology and data analytics enable us to examine a disease, such as type 1 diabetes, at the cellular level so we can better tailor diagnostic and treatment strategies — then utilize discoveries about one disease to better understand additional immune system diseases.

Our successes of 2018 would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors, who made it one of our best years ever, and the thousands of volunteers who participated in our biorepositories and clinical studies. We also must recognize our former executive director and chief financial officer, Homer Lane, for his leadership in navigating our institute toward its exciting future. Homer retired in early 2019 after seven years at our helm, and we thank him for his commitment to BRI’s mission, his integrity and business acumen, which have been great assets for the current and future success of our organization.

Jane H. Buckner, MD
Benaroya Research Institute

Margaret McCormick, PhD
Executive Director and COO
Benaroya Research Institute

Homer Lane Retires

Homer W. Lane Jr. retired March 1, 2019, after serving as BRI’s executive director and chief financial officer for seven years. Lane’s achievements at BRI include building a high-performing administrative team and managing an increase of 65 percent in annual revenues to more than $70 million.

image description Homer W. Lane Jr. who retired March 1, 2019, served as BRI’s executive director and chief financial officer for seven years.

Succeeding Homer Lane as executive director and chief operating officer is Margaret McCormick, PhD (formerly chief administrative officer); and as chief financial officer, Michael Labosier (formerly controller and director of accounting and finance).