New Pediatric Research Institute Launched by Children's Medical Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center

March 09, 2012

Children’s Medical Center is partnering with UT Southwestern Medical Center to establish a unique $150 million venture that will bring together the finest scientists to pursue research with the potential to change scientific fields, as well as the way disease is treated in children and adults. 

The Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern will focus on the discovery of transformative advances related to the understanding and treatment of cancer, birth defects and metabolic diseases. The institute will combine the comprehensive clinical expertise of Children’s Medical Center Dallas, a nationally ranked pediatric hospital system, and UT Southwestern, an internationally recognized center for medical research. 

Children’s has committed to raise $150 million in endowment to support the new initiative. The Hamon Charitable Foundation recently made a $10 million gift – the second-largest ever made to Children’s Medical Center, which will establish an endowment to support the Children’s Research Institute. Dr. Sean Morrison, Ph.D., internationally acclaimed for his groundbreaking stem cell research, has been named founding director of the institute. In recognition of this gift, Dr. Morrison’s laboratory at the institute will be named the Hamon Laboratory for Stem Cell and Cancer Biology. 

“The Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern is poised to lead the way in a new era of scientific discovery,” said Christopher J. Durovich, president and chief executive officer of Children’s. “This will make treatments more effective and delivery of care more efficient. Ultimately, we will push the frontiers of pediatric medicine, help reduce suffering and save lives, a goal of Children’s for nearly 100 years.” 

Under Dr. Morrison’s leadership, the institute is focusing on research at the interface of stem cell biology, cancer, and metabolism that has the potential to reveal new strategies for treating disease. 

“Our goal is to discover the therapies of tomorrow,” Dr. Morrison said. “We will invest in research to illuminate the biological basis for disease by integrating interdisciplinary groups of scientists and physicians who combine skills that are rarely found in a single laboratory. 

“When we make discoveries that have the potential to improve the treatment of patients, we will invest in clinical research to deliver the benefits of the science to patients. Our ultimate goal is to cure somebody who would not be cured otherwise.” 

The institute currently has more than 30 scientists in two laboratories. It eventually will include 150 scientists in 15 laboratories led by UT Southwestern faculty members. 

The Dean Foods Foundation last summer also committed to a gift of $1.25 million to help establish CRI.


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