The Jackson Laboratory receives $1.5M gift to create the Janeway Distinguished Chair
By Joyce Peterson
Bar Harbor, Maine – The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) has received a philanthropic gift of $1.5 million from Weslie Janeway, a longtime member and current vice chair of the institution’s board of trustees, to support the creation of the Janeway Distinguished Chair.
Janeway’s gift ensures ongoing support for the research of the faculty member holding the chair. Previously Janeway had established the Pyewacket Fund to provide support for postdoctoral fellows working in the labs of early-career faculty. “With the establishment of an endowed chair,” says JAX President and CEO Edison Liu, M.D., “Weslie Janeway has underscored the critical role philanthropy plays in supporting our scientists at every stage of their careers: from creating opportunities for postdoctoral training, to providing funds for faculty who are just getting established as principal investigators, to supporting and recognizing the work of established and world-renowned researchers.”
Liu recently announced the appointment of Professor Robert E. Braun, Ph.D., to the Janeway Distinguished Chair. Braun is one of the nation’s leading reproductive biologists, studying germline stem cells and how they develop into eggs and sperm. His lab explores how germline stem cells balance self-renewal with differentiation, and how imbalances between the two can lead to problems ranging from tumor development to sterility. Accepting the Janeway Distinguished Chair position will enable Braun to expand his research program.
Braun first came to The Jackson Laboratory in 2001 for a year as a visiting investigator while on the faculty of the University of Washington. In 2007 he joined the JAX faculty as professor, associate director and chair of research.
The recipient of many honors and awards, Braun earned his undergraduate degree in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, chemistry and mathematics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and his Ph.D. in the Tufts University School of Medicine department of microbiology. He joined the University of Washington as a postdoctoral fellow in 1986, rising to professor of genome sciences.
Janeway’s gift brings the total number of endowed chairs at the Jackson Laboratory to six. In addition to providing an important source of funding for research, named, endowed chairs are a vital tool enabling JAX to attract, retain and support outstanding scientists. Braun is the fifth JAX professor to be named to an endowed faculty position, joining Karl Gunnar Johansson Chair Gary Churchill, Ph.D., Florine Deschenes Roux Chair Yijun Ruan, Ph.D., Evnin Family Chair George Weinstock, Ph.D., and Knowlton Family Chair Carol Bult, Ph.D.
The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center. It employs over 1,700 staff, and its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.