$100M Gift to UChicago to Study the ‘New Science of Wellness’

Harnessing the power of the human body to prevent illness – that’s the goal behind a $100 million gift to the University of Chicago Medicine.

The new Duchossois Family Institute will study the microbiome, genetics and the immune system to create a so-called “new science of wellness” and will work to make its discoveries available to the public through the university’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

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“I have experienced far too many friends, family and loved ones struggling against serious and protracted disease and have long wished we had the knowledge and ability to keep our bodies healthy in the first place,” Kimberly Duchossois, chairman of the Duchossois Family Foundation, said in a statement. “In the past several years, motivated by breakthroughs in medical treatments such as cancer immunotherapy, I was inspired to imagine the possibility of this ‘new science.’ When we shared these aspirations with the scientists at the University of Chicago, they confirmed for us the possibilities in our future.”

The university says the new institute could target a range of health issues, including food allergies, asthma, obesity, autoimmune diseases, cancer, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

“The family recognized the university’s and medical center’s leadership in genomics, the human immune system, data analytics and the microbiome,” T. Conrad Gilliam, professor of Human Genetics, said in a statement. “The new institute will integrate these areas into this new science focused on longstanding health and the body’s natural ability to maintain wellness.”

Joining Chicago Tonight to discuss the new institute are Dr. Marcus Clark, an expert in autoimmune disease and immunology research at the University of Chicago; Dr. Erika Claud, a UChicago neonatologist who researches environmental influences on the health of children; and John Flavin, associate vice president of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

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