Press Releases

Seattle, WA - Jun 22, 2015

Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason Announces Plans for Leadership Changes

Gerald Nepom, MD, PhD, who has served as director of Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) for 30 years, will retire from this position at the end of 2015.

He will be succeeded by Jane Buckner, MD, currently associate director of BRI who will become president of BRI on Jan. 1, 2016.

Dr. Nepom will continue to serve as director of the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN), a collaborative network for clinical research headquartered at BRI since 2013. Sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, ITN strives to accelerate development of therapies to reprogram the immune system so that disease-causing immune responses are stopped while maintaining the immune system’s ability to combat infection.

Under Dr. Nepom’s leadership, BRI has earned an international reputation for leading research into the causes of and potential cures for type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies and numerous other autoimmune and immune-mediated diseases.

“Dr. Nepom’s decision to join Virginia Mason in 1985 and build what we now know of as BRI has led to an amazing 30-year history with major scientific and medical impacts,” said Kristi Pangrazio, chairperson, BRI Board of Directors. “We look forward to his continued leadership of BRI through 2015 and to his future involvement with BRI as a faculty member and through his ITN directorship.”

Dr. Buckner has been a scientist at BRI since 1999 and served as associate director of BRI since 2012. Additionally, she is director for the BRI Translational Research Program, a principal investigator at BRI and a rheumatologist at Virginia Mason. She is internationally recognized for her research in understanding the immunologic and genetic causes of autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and relapsing polychondritis.

Dr. Buckner’s new title of president reflects the growing recognition of BRI’s international status in the biomedical community for innovative research in translational immunology, thanks in large measure to Dr. Nepom’s work.

“As a world leader in scientific innovation, we’re leveraging the progress in immunologic research to help eliminate autoimmune diseases in the future,” Dr. Buckner said. “Our discoveries are also having a significant impact on people living with autoimmune diseases today by improving our ability to predict disease and individualize therapy which together will make therapies better and safer, while decreasing disability.”

Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) is committed to finding causes and cures for autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis, and immune system diseases such as allergies and asthma.  An internationally-recognized medical research institute, BRI accelerates discovery through laboratory breakthroughs in immunology that are then translated to clinical therapies.  BRI is a leader of collaborative initiatives through the Immune Tolerance Network and other major cooperative research programs.

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About Benaroya Research Institute

Benaroya Research Institute (BRI) is a world leader in human immune system research. BRI works to advance the science that will predict, prevent, reverse and cure immune system diseases like allergies, asthma, cancer, COVID-19 and autoimmune diseases. BRI accelerates discovery through laboratory breakthroughs in immunology that are then translated to clinical therapies. We believe that a breakthrough in one immune system disease can lead to progress against them all, and work tirelessly toward our vision of a healthy immune system for everyone. BRI is a world-renowned independent nonprofit research institute affiliated with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and based in Seattle.

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