The Merkin Family Foundation pledges new commitment to the Broad Institute to fund next generation of scientists

By Haley Bridger, Broad Communications, April 17th, 2012

The Merkin Family Foundation today announced a commitment to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT to establish the Merkin Institute Fellows, a program that will support some of the most promising and ambitious scientists pursuing bold research at the Broad Institute. The Merkin Family Foundation’s commitment will be used to create the first endowed fellowship program at the Broad Institute and will provide sustained support for these outstanding scientists as they blaze important new trails in science and medicine.

"Establishing the Merkin Institute Fellows program at the Broad Institute is deeply significant to me," said Dr. Richard Merkin, President and CEO of Heritage Provider Network. "I've dedicated my life's work to transforming global healthcare delivery and encouraging promising scientists to pursue much needed bold research projects that will help us move from care to cure."

“One of the most remarkable aspects of the Broad Institute is its high caliber talent that is advancing groundbreaking research in science and medicine,” said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. “This new fellowship program, created through Dick’s generosity and foresight, will ensure a continued pipeline of the best and brightest minds in science as they fulfill the full potential of the Broad Institute.”

“Dr. Merkin is a visionary whose sustained support for the next generation of scientists is a reflection of his deep commitment to transforming medicine,” said Dr. Eric Lander, director of the Broad Institute. “Dr. Merkin’s remarkable leadership and generosity have already enabled us to better understand the genetic circuitry that gives stem cells their unique properties, and this continued support will allow our scientists to explore the implications for disease and treatment, and open up additional fields of research.”

Promising scientists pursuing critical projects will be selected annually as Merkin Institute Fellows. Some of the research supported by the new commitment will focus on stem cell biology, regenerative medicine and neurodegenerative disease, areas Dr. Merkin cares about deeply. The new commitment builds on an earlier three-year gift from Dr. Merkin, which made possible the Richard Merkin Foundation for Stem Cell Research at the Broad Institute, launched in 2009. The earlier gift supported young scientists at the Broad Institute, including Aviv Regev, John Rinn, Alex Meissner, and Benjamin Ebert among others, as they pursued a deeper understanding of stem cells and stem cell biology. The three-year gift resulted in a number of scientific advances, as well as more than a dozen papers related to these areas of research.

"This wonderful gift will make it possible for young scientists to be bold and creative, and to pursue their own vision,” said Dr. David Altshuler, deputy director and chief academic officer at the Broad Institute. “The greater scientific community will ultimately benefit, as the Fellows make discoveries that can move an entire field forward."  

About HPN
Heritage Provider Network, Inc. (HPN) is on the cutting edge of the accountable care model of healthcare delivery: coordinated, patient-doctor centric, integrated healthcare systems that represent the future of healthcare in the United States. HPN develops programs and services that are responsive to the healthcare needs of today's patient. HPN designs its networks to offer patients a comprehensive range of medical care in convenient locations.  It organizes and manages medical groups and independent practice associations, integrating with hospitals and ancillary care providers. This system represents a workable, successful business model that has been duplicated with medical groups, IPAs and medical facilities throughout California.  HPN is dedicated to quality, affordable healthcare and putting patients' wellness first. (www.heritageprovidernetwork.com) 

For more information on HPN Contact: Janet Janjigian, DC Media Group LA, Inc, janet@dcmediagroupla.com

About the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT
The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT was launched in 2004 to empower this generation of creative scientists to transform medicine. The Broad Institute seeks to describe all the molecular components of life and their connections; discover the molecular basis of major human diseases; develop effective new approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics; and disseminate discoveries, tools, methods and data openly to the entire scientific community.

Founded by MIT, Harvard and its affiliated hospitals, and the visionary Los Angeles philanthropists Eli and Edythe L. Broad, the Broad Institute includes faculty, professional staff and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard biomedical research communities and beyond, with collaborations spanning over a hundred private and public institutions in more than 40 countries worldwide. For further information about the Broad Institute, go to http://www.broadinstitute.org.