Greetings from Madison!
It’s been a whirlwind summer and early fall here at the Morgridge Institute. We safely welcomed back more of our scientists, researchers, and employees into the building. We are certainly not back to normal, but I think we’re starting to see what this “new normal” is.
Of course, there have been setbacks with the delta variant. But we are not moving backward. We know how to operate safely. The vaccines are highly effective, and they’re working.
In the face of the incredible human and economic toll of the pandemic, we recognize we’re among the lucky ones who were able to keep pushing science forward. We directed our research wisely and realized that our expertise could serve society in this critical time. As a result, we’ll come out of this as better, more compassionate scientists.
Moreover, our scientists proved their remarkable adaptability to remain productive and resilient. That work was — and continues to be — made possible by you, our donors. I cannot thank you enough for the trust you’ve placed in us.
In this report, you can read about the research milestones made possible this year. In particular, you’ll see several efforts to redouble the fight against cancer. Two of these initiatives come out of the Melissa Skala Lab and use novel imaging techniques to home in on more effective, fast, and informative tools for testing cancer drugs.
I also hope you enjoy seeing the new faces at the institute. That includes Tim Grant, an investigator in virology and research computing specializing in cryo-electron microscopy, and Ashley Cortes Hernandez, who joined the Discovery Outreach team to support science programs for underrepresented students and families.
As much as we celebrate the science community here, it’s clear we still have a lot to do. Society has imparted scientists with a high level of trust and support, and with that, we must consistently demonstrate that we are here to serve people and do what’s right for humanity.
You can read an editorial I wrote in The Hill. In it, I called on more scientists to step out from behind the bench and seize this moment. All of us in science must connect with the American public, share our knowledge clearly, and most of all, listen to peoples’ issues and concerns.
And that brings me fittingly to Ernest “Ernie” Micek. Ernie was a Morgridge Institute trustee, board chair, entrepreneur, and friend. He was a tireless advocate for science and education and played a pivotal role in creating the institute. Unfortunately, Ernie passed away in Oct. 2020 at the age of 84, but his legacy continues with his advice to “always do the right thing.”
Of course, this report is just a sampling of the incredible discovery, outreach, and education happening here. We depend on a community of supporters like you. Thank you for making a difference.
I hope you are healthy, happy, and hopeful as you read this report.
Brad Schwartz, M.D.
CEO, Morgridge Institute for Research
P.S. Your voice matters. If you have any questions about the stories in this report, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a donor, you are:
Exploring Science, Fearlessly
Donors like you help scientists pursue fearless science. Thank you for supporting biomedicine that will improve human health. With your support, you’re helping fight disease, understand the depths of biology, unlock ways to stop cancer, HIV, and many more disorders.
Science is for everyone. You help many free and heavily-discounted science education and outreach programs for underserved children and families. From afterschool programs to the Rural Summer Science Camp, these opportunities bring the wonders and joy of science to all families.
You play an important role in pushing science forward. Thanks to private support from donors like you, the Morgridge Institute is working to improve human health. We can’t do this work without you—THANK YOU.
Here’s a look at some of the milestones made possible by you.
Imaging method predicts how well stem cells can differentiate into cardiac muscle cells
Morgridge researchers developed an imaging technique that can predict the efficiency of cardiac muscle cell differentiation from stem cells as a method of quality control for potential regenerative therapies.
Navigating the unCHARTed: web tool explores public sequencing data for cancer research
Morgridge Postdoctoral Fellow Matthew Bernstein developed a web tool to explore public RNAseq datasets to facilitate analysis for cancer researchers.
Morgridge postdoc awarded first AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship in the U.S. Department of the Treasury
Morgridge Postdoctoral Fellow Amritava Das earned prestigious AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship and landed first-ever placement at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Raja awarded the “Women Scientist Award” for achievements in bioinformatics
Postdoctoral researcher Kalpana Raja received the "Women Scientist Award" from the Society for Bioinformatics and Biological Sciences for her scientific merits.
CZI project to enable high-resolution mapping of molecules within cells
Tim Grant is part of a new project supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) that hopes to create a three-dimensional map that aligns molecules in their proper neighborhoods within a cell.
Serving up summer science
The Summer Science Workshop Series kicks off June 23 with 106 students and 29 educators from 21 schools in the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance and seven sites in the Upward Bound program that focuses on underrepresented and first-generation pre-college students.
Honoring Ernie Micek: ‘always doing the right thing’
Ernest 'Ernie' Micek was a global trade leader and entrepreneur who brought decades of experience to help the Morgridge Institute by 'always doing the right thing.'
Top prizes in ethics cartooning contest address COVID-19 and more
Five prizes were awarded in the fourth annual Ethics Cartooning Competition, addressing the social impacts of scientific research, like issues on public health and communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Imaging technique sheds light on a notoriously slow-growing cancer
Neuroendocrine cancers grow so slowly they often evade detection before it's too late. By mimicking that slow growth in the lab, the Melissa Skala Lab hopes to speed up the creation of more effective treatments.
Biden offers American science a fresh chance to prove its value to society
President Biden has laid out a vision for elevating the importance of science in this country. But it's up to all scientists to help educate Americans about the benefits of science and the discoveries that have changed our world.
Redox imaging allows measurement of drug responses in lab-grown cancer samples
Scientists have developed a nondestructive way of measuring drug treatment responses in lab-grown cancer samples.
Ashley Cortes Hernandez hopes to spread STEM enthusiasm among Latinx youth
Ashley Cortes Hernandez is excited to bring Latinx representation to the team in hopes of making STEM more accessible to underrepresented communities in her new role as assistant outreach coordinator for Discovery Outreach.
Online Field Trips bring science to the state
For more than ten years, the Field Trip Program has brought students and teachers to Madison for a day of activity and exploration. But when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered on-campus activity, the Discovery Outreach Team had to get creative.
Science for All
When you establish a planned gift, you help inspire the next generation of scientists. Planned gifts through an estate or annuities help support science education and outreach activities, like the Summer Science Camp.
Contact Bill Swisher, Chief Development Officer, today.