Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason

A Message from the President and Executive Director

Dear Friends,

In 2019, we launched our ambitious strategic plan with a bold mission: to predict, prevent, reverse and cure diseases of the immune system to achieve our vision of a healthy immune system for everyone.

image descriptionJane H. Buckner, MD, President, (left) and Margaret McCormick, PhD, Executive Director and COO

Discoveries at BRI are accelerating, thanks to your support and our talented researchers, collaborative culture and application of new technologies and data analytics. But in order to realize our mission and vision, we will need to understand what causes the immune system to fall out of balance and what we can do to restore it to health. That’s why we have recently organized our scientific activities into four new Centers of Discovery:

  • Fundamental Immunology, directed by Daniel Campbell, PhD
  • Translational Immunology, directed by Karen Cerosaletti, PhD
  • Interventional Immunology, directed by Carla Greenbaum, MD
  • Systems Immunology, directed by Peter Linsley, PhD

The centers work together by building on the discoveries of each, with scientists applying tools and insights across the spectrum of immune system diseases to accelerate research advances. These new centers also create additional leadership opportunities for our scientific staff. With the addition of a new Associate Director of Academic Affairs role, to which Jessica Hamerman, PhD, was appointed, we’re increasing our support of our senior scientists as well as the next generation of scientists, from undergraduate interns to postdocs.

Most of all, when we look back on 2019, we are extremely grateful for a record breaking year for your philanthropic support of new ideas, new research and the purchase of equipment to help us reach new horizons in discovery.

In 2019 we welcomed two new faculty members. Cate Speake, PhD, was promoted to the position of research assistant member in the Center for Interventional Immunology. Dr. Speake’s work is focused on translating findings in the laboratory to the clinic, using her expertise in analyzing large data sets to help answer clinical questions, from initial work in infectious disease settings to her current work in diabetes and autoimmunity.

Oliver Harrison, PhD, joined the Center for Fundamental Immunology as an Assistant Member. His laboratory studies the interaction between the immune system and microbes of the gut. Through a new funding opportunity and with the expertise of Dr. Harrison, we’re initiating a Gut Immunity program, which like our other programs will work across the centers to unite scientists who study different aspects of the same diseases. In addition, we welcomed Adam Wojno, PhD, who manages our Cell and Tissue Analysis Core Laboratory.

Over the years we have seen our research expand, from type 1 diabetes to a spectrum of autoimmune diseases, including studies of the healthy immune system. All this is possible through our expertise in immunology combined with new grants from the National Cancer Institute, strategic partnerships with the Allen Institute of Immunology and Parker Institute for Immunotherapy, and numerous academic and industry collaborations that allow us to expand our scope and impact.

Most of all, when we look back on 2019, we are extremely grateful for a record breaking year for your philanthropic support of new ideas, new research and the purchase of equipment to help us reach new horizons in discovery.

We hope you enjoy reading about some of our notable discoveries as summarized in this report — and that you, like us, will feel inspired and hopeful that ultimately, we can find ways to rebalance every immune system back to health.

Jane H. Buckner, MD
President
Benaroya Research Institute

Margaret McCormick, PhD
Executive Director and COO
Benaroya Research Institute