Sylvie Breton, PhD, the Charles and Ann Sanders MGH Research Scholar
Sylvie Breton, PhD, the Charles and Ann Sanders MGH Research Scholar

Supporting Visionary Thinkers

The Massachusetts General Hospital Research Scholars program was started to provide forward-thinking researchers with the funding they need to take their work into new and uncharted territories.

Typically, scientists are dependent on funding from organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to carry on their research. This is a time-consuming process, and the NIH rarely funds projects that have little supporting data.

One of the hospital’s longtime aspirations has been to provide support for exceptional researchers whose research is not readily funded by the NIH or other sources.

History has shown that talented scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers are the ones who often make the greatest advances.

The MGH Research Scholars Fund

To make those advances possible, the scholars fund was established in 2011 with a $10 million donation from an anonymous donor.

The donation was set up as a matching fund—for each $500,000 contributed to the fund, the donor will match the amount up to $10 million.

Those who donate $500,000 or more have the opportunity to name an award, and enter into a unique partnership with the researcher that they sponsor.

The funds can be used to expand the scope of existing research, purchase new equipment, hire additional researchers or otherwise support the investigative efforts of our scholars.

Meet our MGH Research Scholars:

Scholar Funds in Action

Sylvie Breton, PhD, a Charles and Ann Sanders MGH Research Scholar, has used Research Scholar funding to evolve her research from its original focus on male fertility to a much broader study of organ systems.

The expanded scope enabled by scholar funds has allowed Breton to make the unexpected discovery that CFTR—the protein that is mutated in cystic fibrosis—is not only a chloride channel, but a master regulator of embryonic development.

Breton is postulating that CFTR mutations weaken mature organs, making them more susceptible to injuries. This would explain the progressive nature of cystic fibrosis.

Breton was one of five MGH Research Scholars named in the inaugural class of 2011. Earlier this month, we introduced six new MGH Research Scholars.

This year’s scholars were selected from a pool of 91 applicants and include specialists in imaging, CRISPR, cardiology, immunology and infectious disease. This program, which is funded completely through philanthropy, now provides unrestricted research support to 42 MGH investigators.

To learn more about the MGH Research Scholars program or to find out how you can support these visionary thinkers, please contact Kate Gutierrez in our Development office.

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