Alan Aderem, With Team in Tow, Bolts From ISB to Take Leading Role at Seattle BioMed
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timing, really, as these things often are. It makes a lot of sense.”
Although the grants will go with Aderem, he says the institute won’t be decimated by the losses. The Institute for Systems Biology is still in the middle of a five-year, $100 million research program supported by the government of Luxembourg, which has made it “pretty flush,” Aderem says.
Aderem and Stuart have known each other personally for about 20 years, and once used to play squash together on the courts at Rockefeller University in New York, Aderem says. The two have carried on a variety of scientific collaborations over the years, he says.
The potential now at Seattle BioMed, Aderem says, is to go beyond what he has done in the past with identifying certain cell types involved in basic immune reponses. Systems biology, which has a predictive element to it that has eluded microbiology approaches of the past, ought to help researchers avoid time-consuming, costly blunders like the failure of Merck’s HIV vaccine candidate in clinical trials a couple years ago. The idea is that by applying some of the systems approaches, Seattle BioMed ought to be able to help design better vaccine candidates and predict how they will perform in trials.
“The really exciting thing is for the first time we’ve got systems biology and infectious disease research and immunology under one roof,” Aderem says. “It’s the only institute in the world that has done that. It’s really exciting. It’s going to have huge impact.”