Research institute supported by $30 million BJC gift

A $30 million gift from BJC HealthCare will help construct a new 11-story research building on the School of Medicine campus. This is the largest donation ever received for construction of a building at the School of Medicine. To be named the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University, the building will house the laboratories and support facilities for BioMed 21, the University’s research initiative to rapidly translate basic research findings into advances in medical treatment.

(From left) Steven H. Lipstein, BJC HealthCare president and CEO; Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine; Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton; and Paul J. McKee Jr., board chair, BJC HealthCare, and chairman, McEagle Properties LLC, officially break ground at an Oct. 30 ceremony for the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Children’s Place.

“The BJC Institute of Health at Washington University will be home to research that brings together gifted physicians, scientists and researchers with a common goal — to find new and better ways to improve human health, including new treatments and potential cures for the diseases most prevalent in our society,” said Steven H. Lipstein, BJC president and chief executive officer. “This Institute will provide the opportunity to translate medical discoveries into everyday patient care for the benefit of our entire community.”

BJC HealthCare, a Missouri nonprofit corporation and one of the largest nonprofit health-care provider organizations in the United States, supports interdisciplinary, collaborative research that tackles major health problems. BioMed 21 exemplifies this type of research and brings together researchers and physician-scientists from specialties that span the breadth of medical and basic science disciplines.

“BJC HealthCare’s gift to the University for this building is an investment in the talent and dedication of the researchers who will occupy it and those who collaborate with them,” said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “The facility will foster new ideas and creative solutions that will dramatically change medical care in the future. We are truly appreciative of BJC HealthCare’s forward-looking commitment.”

The BioMed 21 initiative was begun in 2003, establishing a set of research goals to tackle key medical challenges and creating an administrative structure that enables scientists from different specialties, or disciplines, to cooperate more effectively. The BJC Institute of Health at Washington University will provide laboratory space for five newly created Interdisciplinary Research Centers of BioMed 21 and two academic departments at the School of Medicine.

“The School of Medicine’s researchers are constantly seeking to identify and understand the underlying causes of disease,” said Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “Naturally, our goal is that these endeavors will form the foundation of new treatments and new cures. Reaching that goal as quickly as possible is the promise of BioMed 21 and the true benefit of the new building. We thank BJC HealthCare for support that will help make this possible.”

The five Interdisciplinary Research Centers, which comprise School of Medicine researchers from a wide variety of fields, are devoted to cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, infectious diseases and membrane excitability disorders, which encompass neural, cardiac and other conditions.