Incubation and Acceleration of Innovative Research
The Broad Institute
The Foundation provides flexible funding to the Broad Institute to support initiatives of strategic importance to the Broad’s goals of systematically mapping genes that underlie key diseases and the response to therapies; deciphering the fundamental mechanisms of human genetics, molecular circuitry, gene regulation, and metabolism that underlie health and disease; and establishing breakthrough technological, computational, and clinical platforms with the ultimate goal of better understanding human health and disease and developing effective treatments.
The Cell Observatory at the Broad Institute began as a pilot effort in 2012 to systematically map the components of human cells and to define the cellular circuits in which they function. The second phase of this initiative is a 5 year research program led by Aviv Regev, which focuses on the study of entire tissue ecosystems. The program aims to (i) invent, develop, scale, and adopt technologies to observe cell interactions in their native tissue settings, such as measurement of genomic profiles in situ in animal models, organoids, and patient samples, (ii) conduct massively parallel perturbations to precisely manipulate cells, their molecular components, their microenvironments, and their interactions, at multiple places at the same time in vivo, and (iii) develop inference algorithms that infer the connections between internal and external cellular circuits, and to develop models to predict how the function and composition of cells in a tissue would change due to external changes associated with human disease. Please click here to learn more about the Cell Observatory.
Flexible Incubator Funding
The Foundation has provided 3 years of flexible funding to the Broad Institute to support the pursuit of bold pilot-level and exploratory research projects that help realize the potential of emerging and still-nascent fields. An initial project supported by this funding will be an effort to help link gene variants associated with common diseases to the genes they control and the functions they perform, by developing massively parallel approaches and algorithms for altering variants and determining their effects on target genes, determining the function of those genes in cellular, organoid, and animal models, and relating these findings to human patients carrying specific genotypes.