A History of Excellence

Charles Emerson is appointed BBRI’s new Director having spent the past nine years as Chair of the Cell and Developmental Biology Department at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

BBRI completes its record breaking campaign “Intellectual Partners for the Future of Science” that raised $6,500,000.  The Campaign provided seed funding for five new scientists at BBRI, The Kresge Foundation Cell Biology Core Facility, a Pilot Fund Initiative for innovative research projects and funding for education outreach programs.

BBRI moved into a new state-of-the-art research facility in Watertown, Massachusetts. The new facility allows BBRI more space for the expansion of its research.

A challenge grant from a leading Boston foundation provides the cornerstone for the establishment of an X-ray Crystallography Facility at BBRI for the analysis of proteins at the atomic level.  This bold move has led to BBRI forming an excellent structural biology group that has made important discoveries published in Nature and Science.

With the appointment of Kathleen Morgan as BBRI’s Director, the Institute concentrates on three major areas relevant to muscle research – cell motility, cell communication and cell growth.

A major program in smooth muscle research is initiated at BBRI with the support of a $6 million Program Project Grant from the NIH.  This program continues successfully today and involves a team of nine BBRI faculty members, plus two more collaborators at BBRI.  A better understanding of smooth muscle contraction has great relevance to numerous diseases including hypertension, stroke, asthma and premature labor.

BBRI files its first patent application in the area of immunotechnology and receives corporate research support for further research in this field. This patented technology has now been licensed to a biopharmaceutical company for use in cancer immunotherapy.

BBRI’s muscle research program makes fundamental contributions to the characterization of the proteins that constitute skeletal muscle. These included the elucidation of the role of the troponins, which are important regulatory components of skeletal and cardiac muscle and have come to play a key role in the early diagnosis of heart attacks.

The Retina Foundation evolves into two separate institutions: the Boston Biomedical Research Institute and the Eye Research Institute of the Retina Foundation.

Scientists in other areas of basic biomedical research, such as bioenergetics and developmental biology, are recruited so as to provide a well-rounded biomedical research program to complement the Institute’s clinical eye research efforts.

The Institute of Biological and Medical Sciences of the Retina Foundation moves into a new building at 20 Staniford Street in Boston.

John Gergely joins the Foundation to initiate a program in muscle research which subsequently became internationally prominent.

Endre Balazs joins the Retina Foundation as the first full-time member of the research staff creating a program centered on the biology and physical chemistry of hyaluronic acid, a key component of joint and eye fluids.

The Retina Foundation is founded by Charles Schepens.