SEATTLE - October 31, 2005 - Their resumes reflect a lifetime of leadership and achievement in law, business and politics, yet Bob and Pat Herbold's $1.5 million gift to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reflects the couple's solid academic foundation in science. As they learn more about the Hutchinson Center's vision of combining biology and technology to beat cancer, the Herbolds can visualize the possibilities - and the payoff.
With their recent gift to the Hutchinson Center's new Program in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics - now known as the Herbold Computational Biology Program - the Herbolds are making a major contribution to a promising new arena of medical research.
"Early detection is critical in cancer treatment and it looks like computational analysis and modeling of the molecular basis of human blood and tissue may yield new approaches to identify early cancer activity," Bob said. "Now that's a big deal!"
The Herbolds, who live in Bellevue, Wash., and have three grown children and five grandchildren, both studied science in college - Bob has degrees in math and computer science while Pat has a degree in chemistry - yet ultimately they pursued careers outside the lab.
"The work they're doing at the Hutchinson Center is cutting-edge and very exciting," Pat said. "If I had stayed in science, it's the kind of thing I would have loved doing."
Bob is the former executive vice president and chief operating officer at Microsoft, where he worked from 1994 until 2003. Before that, he spent 26 years at Procter & Gamble, rising to senior vice president of advertising and information services. He currently is managing director of Herbold Group LLC, doing consulting on eliminating bureaucracy and improving profitability. Also, he recently authored a book (published by Doubleday) titled The Fiefdom Syndrome, which focuses on the turf battles that undermine careers and companies - and how to overcome them. He also serves on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Pat, who worked for several years as a chemist before returning to school to earn a law degree, spent many years as vice president and chief counsel for Bank One. A former prosecuting attorney, city council member and mayor in suburban Cincinnati, she recently was appointed United States ambassador to Singapore.
The Herbolds were inspired to support the Hutchinson Center by their personal experiences with cancer - both of Bob's parents died of the disease as did Pat's mother - as well as by their appreciation for the breakthroughs in cancer diagnosis, prevention and treatment that are on the horizon. Their gift will help fund the human and technological resources needed to exploit the opportunities presented by the ongoing exploration of the human genome, human proteome and other molecular research.
"The generous support from Bob and Pat will help the Center build one of the best computational biology programs in the world," said Dr. Lee Hartwell, president and director of the Hutchinson Center. "It provides critical resources to accelerate the development of the program's infrastructure and helps us recruit and retain the best and brightest minds in the field."
Computational biology and bioinformatics are two distinct yet related responses to the same problem — how to process the enormous number of variables involved in searching for the molecular clues to cancer. Bioinformatics involves developing the tools needed to analyze massive amounts of data from biological experiments. Computational biology involves the use of mathematics and statistics to generate new data based on experiments that incorporate existing data, a process that saves both time and money over "wet lab" investigations.
The Herbolds can't think of a better way to advance those causes than supporting the Hutchinson Center. "The thing that impresses us most about Fred Hutchinson," said Bob, "is the talent of the people and their clear, clear focus on the goals of the organization."
Photos available upon request.
Christi Ball Loso
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit http://www.fhcrc.org/.