From the Director


David Page understands what Whitehead can do for talented young scientists. He arrived here in 1984 as the Institute’s first Whitehead Fellow. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, he established an independent research program with Whitehead funds and began publishing groundbreaking studies on the Y chromosome.

After becoming a Whitehead Member in 1986, Page continued to make important discoveries about sex determination. He was appointed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He also received the MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship (1986), the Searle Scholar’s Award (1989), the Amory Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1997), and the Curt Stern Award from the American Society of Human Genetics (2003). His scientific prowess and thoughtful nature made him an ideal candidate to assume Whitehead’s directorship. After a year of interim service in the post, he was officially elected Director in December 2005. 



Envisioning the Future

Whitehead Institute is one of the world’s premier independent biomedical research institutions. Our faculty Members are widely acclaimed as scientific pioneers in cancer, cell biology, metabolism, embryonic development, genomics, and plant biology, and the Whitehead Fellows Program is renowned for fostering generations of scientific leaders. The Institute has more than fulfilled the promise that Edwin C. “Jack” Whitehead envisioned when he and David Baltimore founded the organization in 1982. Indeed, many trace the thriving biotechnology industry in Cambridge’s Kendall Square back to the moment Whitehead Institute was born, declaring a new era in biology.

Today, Whitehead Institute is preparing to address the challenges of our next 35 years, through our plans to hire six to eight new faculty members and to renew the scientific facilities that will support our continuing preeminence in biomedical research. We are taking the steps necessary to ensure our long-term capacity to imagine, discover, create, and catalyze—in short, we’re preparing to lead biomedical research deep into the “Bio-Century.”

What will the future of biomedical research look like? It will be increasingly collaborative, computational, and automated. Vast and intersecting data sets will challenge researchers’ ability to meaningfully interrogate data, but there will be untold intellectual riches and scientific advancement for those who meet that challenge. At the same time, the “medical” part of biomedical research will flourish as steadily growing technical capabilities will enable us to look at the entire body—from organs to cells to molecules and back up again—providing a deep, nuanced understanding of both health and disease.

Whitehead Institute faculty will be renowned for their leadership in developing this new, comprehensive approach, which I call “Whole-Genome Biology.” We will be bold as both creators and early adopters of innovative technologies. We will strive to quicken the flow of new knowledge between lab and clinical bedside. And we will build intellectual bridges between basic bioscience and computational science, engineering, physics, chemistry, and clinical medicine.

We are beginning a new chapter for ourselves and pioneering a new era for biological research. Yet we do so holding tightly to our core values and our original mission and vision. We remain committed to excellence in basic biological research; to enabling scientists to think audaciously and act boldly, both individually and collaboratively; and to giving the finest young researchers the knowledge, skills, and confidence to do the same. We continue to embrace our strong belief in the difference creative individuals can make. And we are determined that Whitehead Institute remain the organization at which stellar researchers choose to spend their careers because it is the best place in the world to realize their scientific dreams.

I invite you to delve deeply into this report on Whitehead Institute as we are today, and to join us in envisioning, creating, and exploring the future of biomedical science for the benefit of all humanity.


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David C. Page


Director David Page

Whitehead Institute Director David C. Page

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