The Jackson Laboratory is as strong as it’s ever been in its 82-year history. That bodes well because it has arrived at a crossroads.
A few years ago the Laboratory adopted “Leading the search for tomorrow’s cures” as its tagline. That phrase still rings true, and the importance of the Laboratory’s research in basic mammalian genetics remains unquestioned. But the gap between genetics research and clinical progress is narrowing—tomorrow’s cures are ever closer. The Laboratory’s research must be leveraged to pursue new opportunities in genomics research and personalized medicine.
Leading this effort will be Edison Liu, M.D., recently named the Laboratory’s new president and CEO. Ed Liu is widely recognized for research in breast cancer and human genomics, and he is the right person for this time of transition. His expertise will be vital as the Laboratory expands its capabilities and enters into clinical collaborations.
Technological advances and a new emphasis on translational research are already bringing to doctors’ offices the first applications of personalized medicine, based on an individual’s unique genetic information. The Laboratory is ready to undertake the vast amounts of work and discovery needed in this field and to bridge the gap between its research discoveries and medical applications.
The Laboratory’s leadership transition comes at a time in which the institution is doing very well. The past year further improved the Laboratory’s financial and scientific standing despite the continuing national and global economic struggles. Nonetheless, it is only through embracing changes and the opportunities they bring that an institution can prosper and grow.
The pursuit of better health for everyone has made the Laboratory’s work both worthy and exciting throughout its long history. We are entering the most exciting era yet, in which biomedical research is generating vast amounts of genetic information with unprecedented speed. The benefits for medicine promise to be nothing short of revolutionary.
Chair, The Jackson Laboratory Board of Trustees