2020 Vision: JAX year in review
In 2020, The Jackson Laboratory went into action to help our neighbors in Connecticut fight the pandemic and continue its mission of advancing biomedical research.
Integral to our mission to improve human health, JAX was committed to helping address COVID-19 around the world from the very early stages of the pandemic. From for first responders and healthcare providers, developing for COVID-19 research, in Connecticut and around the world, immunity and antibodies, to for learners of all stages, JAX has been at the scientific forefront in combating COVID-19.
Expanded virtual learning
As schools around the country closed their doors and opened virtual learning opportunities, JAX sought to help expand upon the genetics and genomics educational tools that were available for teachers virtually. Seeking to inspire and empower those interested in working towards improving human health, the JAX Genomic Education team developed a including a COVID-19 curriculum, for educating “scientists” throughout all stages of their careers from high school-aged students to late-stage researchers.
Seeking to explain the science behind the coronavirus, in response to the many questions in the community regarding COVID-19, JAX created a library of bite-sized information, short animations and articles on topics ranging from testing to social distancing to vaccine development. These scientific, fact-based tools explain many of the concepts touched upon in the media for a better understanding of this pandemic and precautions the public can use to protect themselves.
Looking ahead: Tackling the mysteries of disease
Researchers at JAX are focused on discovering the genetic and molecular causes of human health including the microbiome, immunology, and diseases like cancer, diabetes, muscle and bone degeneration, rare diseases, and much more. Research from JAX Genomic Medicine are making headlines across the globe:
- The Mighty Mice – who spent 30 days on the International Space Station – are helping us learn more about preventing muscle and bone loss in astronauts and in people with muscle wasting illnesses and conditions here on Earth
- Collaborating with Microsoft’s Project Hanover, JAX’s Clinical Knowledgebase incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning to accelerate the identification of the best possible cancer treatments based on specific tumor profiles
- With a focus on immune disorders and genomics, our researchers are world-renowned in areas including ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome), how genetic variants increase the risk of autoimmune diseases, why vaccines like the flu vaccine are less effective in the elderly, among others
- Our computational biology team is paving the way for the most advanced precision medicine and cancer treatments
More discoveries lie just beyond the horizon; JAX received more than $100 million in grants for new research in 2020. JAX also experienced a record-breaking year for philanthropy in 2020, raising more than $20 million in support of its mission to improve human health—more than in any other year in the Laboratory’s history. JAX donors came together to , making gifts towards the development of innovative, more accurate mouse models that authentically mimic human responses to the viral life cycle. Supporters also made transformational gifts toward the and more.
Putting people first
JAX has been a leader in taking care of its team during the pandemic. From sending “smart thermometers” to each employee for temperature tracking (at a time when even the least high-tech models were sold out) to shipping high quality, reusable face masks to every employee’s home before they were widely available, providing 80 hours of paid time off to employees that could be used for school and camp closures or to help care for loved ones and ease the burden of the pandemic, to universal, regular employee COVID testing, establishing a COVID-19 crisis fund for JAX families in need, and so much more, JAX has put its employees first time and again.