Our Mission: Turning fundamental discoveries in stem cell science into therapies for today’s patients.
Stem cell biology and regenerative medicine promise unprecedented breakthroughs in healing for the 21st century. Among the world’s premier biomedical research institutions, the University of Washington School of Medicine and its affiliated institutions, Fred Hutch and Seattle Children’s, are leading-edge pioneers in this science.
The University of Washington Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine plays an integral part in this network, developing the human body’s astonishing power to heal itself.
A Bridge to the Future of Medicine
The Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM) is a center of discovery linking a pioneering past to a future of profound possibilities. The Institute has its roots in the work of Nobel-prize winner Dr. E. Donnall Thomas, a University of Washington physician and researcher whose bone marrow transplants in cancer patients were the first use of stem cells in human medicine. That groundbreaking work helped mark the beginning of a new era in medical research.
Dr. Thomas had shown that stem cell-based medicine could transform the treatment of cancer. But that was just the beginning. In 2005, Dr. Randall Moon, Dr. Charles Murry, and Dr. Tony Blau embarked on a mission to explore the implications for other deadly diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Their vision energized the community: in a short period of time, they raised $26 million and united experts from multiple departments across the School of Medicine, Arts & Science, and Engineering. In 2006, they founded the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM) at the University of Washington, determined to build on the region’s reputation as a global leader in stem cell research.
In August of 2008, ISCRM moved to Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, a sleepy warehouse district yet to become the hub of innovation it is now. Ten years later, the UW Medicine South Lake Union Research Complex anchors a nexus of science, technology, and industry alongside Amazon, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, the Institute for Systems Biology, and the Infectious Disease Research Institute.
ISCRM is now one of the largest research institutes at the University of Washington. With six UW schools/colleges and thirty-eight different departments represented, ISCRM attracts researchers from around the world to work and study at its facilities and invites leaders in the field to deliver public lectures, encouraging global cross-pollination of ideas. The Institute has become a West Coast locus of scientific discovery and training, home to more than 130 labs (including 50 at South Lake Union), many hundreds of undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral trainees and 100,000 square feet of lab space.
Blue Sky Innovation in the Heart of Seattle
South Lake Union is an urban village in the heart of Seattle, a modern boomtown with a legacy of blue sky innovation.
The impulse to go first and go far is in encoded in the DNA of the neighborhood. It was here that Henry Ford built his first Model T factory west of the Mississippi and William Boeing began manufacturing seaplanes. Today, South Lake Union is a nerve-center for new ideas that are shaping the future on a global scale.
Inside the ISCRM labs at 850 Republican Street, UW Medicine faculty, postdocs, and undergrads are pursuing the extraordinary in world-class facilities where great minds meet to push the boundaries of medicine together.
But that was just the beginning. In the past decade, ISCRM has been a leader in research grants, patented more than 250 discoveries with commercial potential, and started 20 companies. Fate Therapeutics (Nasdaq: FATE) and Universal Cells, Inc., are just two of the successful ventures born from ISCRM research.
Outside the labs, a vibrant community has taken root in the space between downtown Seattle and the shores of South Lake Union. Joining ISCRM in this park-dotted, walkable, lakeshore neighborhood are the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and Amazon.
Beyond South Lake Union, no other city is a leader in areas as diverse as technology, retail, aerospace, and health care — and positioned precisely at the intersection of technology, big data, and science. And no region other than the Pacific Northwest offers such fertile soil for curiosity, compassion, and pursuit of the public good, all in a scenic wonderland where even the sight of the sun seems to fuel inspiration.
State of the Art Facilities
The Institute is located at UW Medicine’s research complex in Seattle’s South Lake Union (SLU) medical/tech hub. With more than 50 labs and over 100,000 square feet of wet lab space, the Institute has become a West Coast locus of innovation and scientific discovery. ISCRM has four unique core resources, each with specialized equipment, staff expertise, training and/or services. Three of these cores were launched mostly with private funding, which is acknowledged through their naming. In addition to the research labs housed at SLU, there are around 70 labs on the UW main campus, and several dozen at partnering institutions around the city.