Donor Stories

Philanthropy is crucial to the success of biomedical research, where the quest for solutions is full of unexpected twists and turns. Our donors are committed to scientific progress, and believe in the potential of stem cell science to change medicine for the better. They support HSCI not only because Harvard produces groundbreaking research, but because our scientists reach across traditional boundaries to work together and find cures for disease. Here, Scott Malkin and Doug Tinker talk about why they have supported HSCI over the years.

Scott Malkin
Harvard alumnus and HSCI donor

The power of interaction

Scott Malkin, HSCI donor

Harvard, and its community, will be measured by how we make a tangible, positive impact on the world. Supporting innovative science through unrestricted giving allows great talent to experiment, to flourish, and to make a lasting contribution to society. At Harvard today, this is what it means to support excellence.

My wife Laura and I were first introduced to the work of HSCI, and its cross-University mission, some 15 years ago. Doug and David have since then created a multi-institutional enterprise built upon the collaboration of brilliant, committed scientists. HSCI has generated spontaneous interactions between such scientists across various disciplines; this approach opens the door to important discoveries.

The energy and passion of the many outstanding scientists exemplify Harvard at its best.

HSCI reflects the qualities that define a great research university. Year after year, its network of scientists are doing extraordinary things and are the model for what should be normal at Harvard. The brightest young stars are competing to work here, adding their enthusiasm and originality to the Boston-area biotech ecosystem.

 

Discovery can occur abruptly and decisively. Harvard needs to fuel endeavors like HCSI to maintain momentum in stem cell science and continue to attract the best scientists from around the world. In the end, it is this intersection of opportunity and talent that will make the real difference.

 

Laura and I remain inspired by Doug and David’s vision for HSCI. The energy and passion of the many outstanding scientists who are contributing to this shared enterprise exemplify Harvard at its best.

Doug Tinker
President of the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation

Bill Bowes
Founder of the William
K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation

Supporting high-risk, high-reward research

Doug Tinker, Bowes Acceleration Fund at HSCI

The William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation was founded nearly three decades ago through the vision of Bill Bowes. I worked closely with Bill for many years, and since his passing I have been guiding the foundation to carry his wishes forward. One key way we do this is by supporting high-risk, high-reward research at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

 

Bill was a very strong believer in the potential of stem cells and regenerative medicine to move our society forward. Supporting HSCI is a natural fit with his perspective, not only because of HSCI’s mission to cure human diseases, but also because of how the mission is achieved: by forming a vibrant community of a thousand scientists, and seeding collaborations between academic and hospital environments.

 

In particular, we established the Bowes Acceleration Fund at HSCI to support early-stage, exploratory projects. The fund reflects Bill’s experience as a venture capitalist and businessman—we fully understand that this is a high-risk approach, and we choose it because of the high degree of success it can accomplish.

This is a high-risk approach, and we choose it because of the high degree of success it can accomplish.

Just as one example, a decade ago we supported a pilot project to improve how stem cells are made in the lab. The technology from that project has since become the basis for an entirely new class of therapeutics. In 2018, the company developing these therapeutics had the largest ever initial public offering for a venture-backed biotech company. 

 

We are also excited by the diversity of projects that the Bowes Acceleration Fund has supported. Researchers are like entrepreneurs: they’re searching for discoveries that can be very elusive, and they need to be persistent. 

 

This is why we support many well-thought-out, targeted projects across different disciplines—it keeps everyone working to move the ball forward, and that’s what it will take to achieve success.

For a complete list of 2018 donors, please see the PDF version of this report.
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