The Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) is officially launching The Shurl & Kay Curci Foundation (SKCF) Faculty Scholars Program thanks to a $1 million gift from the Shurl & Kay Curci Foundation.
Since 2013, the Shurl & Kay Curci Foundation has been a dedicated partner in supporting life science research and programs. SKCF’s past investments have already led to exciting results in studying tumor progression in colon cancer, researching patterns of drug resistance, creating new technologies for revealing how cells “read” the instructions in their DNA, understanding the processes that control tumor growth as well as aging, and improving therapies for cancer treatment and pediatric diseases.
As Ron Rosequist, SKCF’s president, explains, “Scientific education and research have always been very important issues to us at SKCF. We believe the SKCF Faculty Scholars Program, coupled with IGI’s expertise and infrastructure, has the potential to make a significant impact on scientific breakthroughs and novel treatments. IGI’s development and deep understanding of new gene editing technologies and sensitivity to societal implications, are compelling reasons for this support. We are proud to be a part of the founding of this program and believe its mission is complementary to our foundation’s objective to support science-based research, striving for the advancement of a healthy and sustainable future for humans.”
The SKCF Faculty Scholars Program will support the brightest young faculty — from the top scientific institutions in the country — whose research and expertise will enhance IGI’s scientific strategy to advance human health by using precision genomics to develop new solutions for genetic diseases, nutritional shortages, and environmental challenges. Initially, the program will be piloted at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, Stanford, and UC Davis with the goal to expand it nationwide over the next few years.
The five-year pilot program will begin funding a new early career faculty member each year. The award is generous at $200,000 over two years, and will provide each highly promising investigator funds to cover associated research costs, including equipment, graduate student support, and other material needs. In making the award spendable over a two-year period, two SKCF Faculty Scholars will be able to work concurrently starting in the second year.
Speaking about the program, Executive Director Jennifer Doudna stated, “We are deeply grateful to the Shurl & Kay Curci Foundation for the confidence and support they have shown UC Berkeley, UCSF, and IGI, as well as our forward-thinking scientists. The continuing support of foundations such as SKCF allows us to pursue novel science and applications using genome editing at the pace necessary to make meaningful progress. In particular, the SKCF Faculty Scholars Program provides promising early-career faculty the material boost they need to be successful. The impact of SKCF’s support promises to transform human health and well-being around the world.”