Buck Institute Launches Public Phase of First Capital Campaign

$9.3 million will fund lab expansion: The Center for Integrative Studies of Aging

January 30, 2006  For the first time in its seven year history, the Buck Institute for Age Research is seeking philanthropic support from the local community and various foundations to fund a lab expansion project to create a new Center for Integrative Studies of Aging.

According to Susan Jacobson, Vice President for Development, the campaign goal is $9.3 million, with $7.3 million already raised. The Institute was awarded a $2.9 million construction grant from the National Institutes of Health. The Glenn Foundation, the Wayne & Gladys Valley Foundation, and the Mericos Foundation have donated $1 million each to the effort. Additional gifts from other foundations and individuals have brought in $1.4 million. The campaign will be officially kicked-off at a community seminar on February 7th.

The Center for Integrative Studies of Aging will bring together Buck Institute scientists who study the processes of aging. The Center will house eight research programs (five existing programs plus three new ones), supporting collaborative efforts among scientists and allowing for the efficient use of key technologies. “The Center for Integrative Studies of Aging will help us meet our mission of extending the healthy years of life,” said Dale Bredesen, MD, Buck Institute CEO. “Deciphering the biological mystery of aging is essential if we’re to discover ways to prevent and treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer and arthritis. This new Center will speed that basic understanding, so that our longer lives are healthy lives.”     

The new Center will utilize 11,000 square feet of unused shell space in the Institute’s administrative building, with construction beginning in the spring of 2006; completion is expected by January 2007. Workspace will be provided for 64 researchers.

The new Center comprises the first phase of the Buck Institute’s overall expansion plan. The Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board recommended the establishment of 20 -25 research programs at the Institute involving studies of the aging process, diseases of aging and technology for aging studies. When planning began in 2003, there were 12 programs in place; 21 programs are expected by 2010. Total staff at the Buck will grow from 150 to 250.  The construction of the new Center will free up other space for the additional research programs.

No Buck Trust funds will be utilized in lab expansion project. The Buck endowment helped build the Institute, comprising 81% of total revenue in 1999. Since then the Institute has become less reliant on the Buck monies; this year the trust fund will provide just 23% of expected revenues of $25.6 million dollars. The majority of Institute revenues come from federal awards and research grants.  For example, last year the National Institute of Aging designated the Buck a “Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Biology of Aging,” one of just five centers in the country.  That award will bring $3.7 million to the Institute over a five-year period.

“We want the community to share in our success and have a stake in our future,” said Susan Jacobson, Vice President of Development. “The Buck Institute is a local treasure; we are inviting the public to come see what we’re doing and understand how our expansion will benefit their lives and the lives of future generations.” The Institute will hold expansion-related tours on Wednesday and Thursday mornings through the end of April.

The Buck Institute is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to extending the healthspan, the healthy years of each individual’s life.  Buck Institute scientists work in an innovative, interdisciplinary setting to understand the mechanisms of aging and to discover new ways of detecting, preventing and treating age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, stroke and arthritis. Collaborative research at the Institute is supported by state-of-the-art genomics, proteomics and imaging technology.

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