Duchossois Family Institute at the University of Chicago and UChicago Medicine

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , /

[MUSIC PLAYING] Imagine a world where
science prevents disease before it happens instead
of waiting to cure disease after it happens. A world where children
can be treated and cured of asthma before they even show
any evidence of the condition. A world where your doctor can
determine a predisposition for Alzheimer’s and help
keep the devastating disorder at bay. It’s a world that may
be closer to reality with the pioneering
research that will be done through the
Duchossois Family Institute at the University of Chicago
and UChicago Medicine. This is a gift of vision,
it’s a gift of commitment, and it is a gift of a family. Craig Duchossois,
his wife Janet, and the Duchossois
Family Foundation made a generous gift of $100
million to start the Institute. It is the largest single gift
in UChicago Medicine’s history. We are very delighted that
the family has supported this notion that the key
to advancing human health is through scientific discovery. The Institute will
accelerate research being done on the interaction
between the microbiome, genetics, and the immune system. So the Duchossois family gift
is a transformative effort. It’s creating an edifice
of research, an opportunity to build the infrastructure,
the personnel, the intellectual
capacity to really make a huge impact in how we
as group, as a university, as a research
organization change that paradigm of medicine. The Duchossois family has long
been committed to philanthropy. They made a
transformational gift to create the Duchossois Center
for Advanced Medicine in memory of matriarch Beverly
Duchossois after she lost her battle with cancer. The creation of the new
Duchossois Family Institute had its genesis in a donation
from the estate of Bruce Duchossois, Beverley’s son,
to the Duchossois Family Foundation. The purpose was to
do something big that would help generations to come. Our family went through
a lot of discussion on what does
transformational mean, and if we want to really
make a strategic gift, what does that look like? And if you are able to
help one individual, that’s transformational
to that individual, or if you really can
change a whole group. And I think with my uncle
Bruce, with his gift to the foundation, we really
wanted to do the latter. We thought that we now have the
ability to really possibly have an impact on society. The unique collaboration with
an eminent research university and its medical center makes
this innovation possible, and it all starts
in the laboratory. I was absolutely
blown away by the fact that instead of curing disease,
their approach to wellness clearly was a sophisticated
scientific approach to preventing diseases. Science, creativity,
and innovation will be hallmarks of
the new Institute. This new science
of wellness seeks to help people
preserve their health while working to modify
traditional treatments and make them better. The microbiome is manipulable. It’s eminently manipulable
compared to anything we’ve worked with before. You can transfer the microbiome
from one individual to another. And miraculously,
the recipient takes on the qualities
of the host in ways we never would have imagined. Now things that we thought were
very difficult to accomplish, they’re very possible. We can dream. And I think that that’s
the important thing. So yeah, this is a
great time to be. Health care changed
and radically improved. It’s a bold statement. But something that is
possible as scientists work hard to make the
world a better place. I think the gift does
have the potential to change the course
of modern medicine. Modern medicine has been
largely focused on disease. There is a whole set of
ways of healthy living to minimize probabilities
of getting disease. But this presents the
potential of an entire new way of creating a healthy individual
through the immune system and its connection
to the microbiome. But what if you create
these scientific advances and the people who need
it most never have access? It’s critical the
research continues and that advances are
quickly taken to the market to help people. That’s why
self-sustainability was something the Duchossois family
insisted on for the Institute. What really made it spectacular
from my perspective is they understood how
important it was to me, as well as the
rest of the family, that it be done on a
business type of environment. To make this happen. Polsky Center for
Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of
Chicago got involved. As part of that
assignment to the team, they brought in
the Polsky Center. Boy, did I get excited. They get it. They understand venture capital. They understand that
there’s a sense of urgency that sometimes you
don’t find in academia. Polsky Center faculty
will work with scientists to help commercialize
the innovative products and treatments that
will be created. This will push the science
of wellness to the market and provide funding to keep
the creativity, innovation, and science coming for
future generations. Again, we’re finding a
lot more of our faculty who are interested in this
bigger and broader impact. They not only want to be able
to do great science and say, I discovered this. They want to see it
out in the world. And as a university, our goal
is to get these ideas out to the world and impact
human lives around the world. So this gift is
catalytic in allowing us to do that in a very
concentrated area of science, where the University of
Chicago really stands out. The Duchossois Family Institute
and the University of Chicago, working together to make
life better for everyone through the science of wellness. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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