The University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) received a $100 million donation from a Chicago-area family devoted to science. The gift will be used to establish the Duchossois Family Institute and marks the fourth time that the University of Chicago has received a single gift of $100 million or more. The Duchossois family’s contribution is also the largest single gift ever received by UCM.
The Duchossois Institute will research the human immune system and its interaction with the microbiome. Some of the services and technologies to be funded by the $100 million gift include a clinical repository to maintain biological samples, high-throughput genetic sequencing for microbial DNA, and medicinal chemistry equipment to pinpoint biomarkers and develop more effective therapies.
T. Conrad Gilliam, dean for basic science in the Division of the Biological Sciences, will be one of the leaders supervising the launch of the Duchossois Family Institute.
“The family recognized the University’s and Medical Center’s leadership in genomics, the human immune system, data analytics and the microbiome,” he said. “The new institute will integrate these areas into this new science focused on longstanding health and the body’s natural ability to maintain wellness.”
A few of the eventual goals set by Institute researchers include returning peanuts, eggs, and milk to school menus, enabling children with asthma to play outside without inhalers, and using probiotics and prebiotics to amplify the effectiveness of cancer and antidepressant drugs. Institute scientists will attempt to study how the body maintains wellness in order to solve common problems such as allergies and obesity.
Under the Institute, researchers from across the University will also work together with partners from Argonne National Laboratory, as well as the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts.