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The Whitehead Innovation Initiative is established to advance the use of artificial intelligence in biomedical research

Whitehead Institute announced today that Michael and Victoria Chambers have made a $10 million gift to seed new research at the intersection of biology and artificial intelligence (AI). The gift establishes the Whitehead Innovation Initiative, which, in catalyzing novel projects, will be a nexus for Whitehead Institute’s ambitious work exploring the power of AI tools in biological research.

“The Whitehead Innovation Initiative will enable our researchers to be even more agile, creative, and pioneering in the questions they ask and the approaches they use,” says Whitehead Institute President and Director Ruth Lehmann, who is also professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “This is the right time for such an initiative, as It will fuel innovation by driving new collaborations among Institute labs and with outside partners.”

"There's no setting more suited than the Whitehead Institute, under the expert guidance of Dr. Lehmann, to pioneer the melding of AI and biology,” explains Michael Chambers, who is a member of the Institute’s board of directors. “We embrace this venture with great enthusiasm and support, foreseeing a future rich with scientific advancement.”

 An advisory committee will provide strategic advice on the Whitehead Innovation Initiative’s ongoing research and development efforts. The committee is chaired by Richard A. Young, Whitehead Institute Member and a professor of biology at MIT; and its members include Regina Barzilay, School of Engineering Distinguished Professor for AI and Health at MIT; Alison Hamilos, Valhalla Fellow in the Whitehead Fellows Program; and Vanessa Almendro, Vice President of Science and Technology and Head of Innovation at Danaher Corporation, and a board member of the MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund Program.

 Putting the gift into a broader context, Sarah K. Williamson, chair of the Institute’s board of directors, observes, “Since its founding, Whitehead Institute’s pioneering researchers have demonstrated their ability to advance biomedical science in exciting ways. This important gift of seed funding will empower our scientists to open whole new vistas of discovery.”



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