Fred Hutch Visitor Center opens; Sage Bionetworks and Drs. Soheil Meshinchi and Heather Schuback receive St. Baldrick's grants
This Wednesday, Fred Hutch officially opened its Visitor Center in the lobby of the Robert M. Arnold Building.
“[This center is] a way to show our community what it is that we do: our science, our innovation, our dedication to improving patient outcomes and compassion for patients with the disease,” said Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Gary Gilliland.
From cord blood transplant research displays to an interactive photo booth, the mission of the Visitor Center is to display Fred Hutch’s research and build community through sharing stories.
Vice President of Communications and Marketing Jennifer Sizemore explained that the center is more than a museum; it’s an interactive space where people whose lives have been touched by cancer or other infection-related diseases can share how the disease has affected their lives. Visitors are invited to fill out cards explaining what they’re grateful for or why they decided to visit Fred Hutch. The back wall of the center is an interactive video screen connected to Fred Hutch’s Share Your Story page.
“It’s about embracing the community and helping [people] share the impact of our science with us through their personal stories,” Gilliland said.
The entrance of the center displays three panels, each with one word from the Fred Hutch tagline “Cures start here.” The “cures” board showcases cure work from immunotherapy to bone marrow transplantation. The “start” panel explains basic sciences and the fundamentals of the research at Fred Hutch, and “here” displays a campus map.
The project came together through the Fred Hutch Communications and Marketing team's partnership with the Facilities and Information Technology departments, the Visitor Center Steering Committee, and external partners including Studio Matthews, which also designed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation visitor center and the Bezos Center for Innovation installation at the Museum of History & Industry.
The Visitor Center is open weekdays during regular campus hours, and it will be one of the many features showcased at Fred Hutch’s 40th Anniversary Block Party, which will be held Sept. 15 from 4 to 7 p.m.
“[This center] opens and deepens our commitment to our community: our physicians, our staff and, most importantly, our patients,” Gilliland said.
Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit research organization based at Fred Hutch and led by Dr. Stephen Friend, an affiliate investigator in the Public Health Sciences Division, has received a consortium grant totaling $610,000 from St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research.
The grant will provide resources to help build a central database of findings to be available to the pediatric cancer research community to enhance the progression of research. By linking together thousands of scientists and doctors, Sage Bionetworks will provide tools and key information through crowdsourcing.
St. Baldrick’s Foundation also has awarded two grants totaling $194,875 to Fred Hutch clinical researchers Drs. Soheil Meshinchi and Heather Schuback to support their research on acute myeloid leukemia, or AML.
Meshinchi’s JJ’s Angels St. Baldrick’s Research Grant aims to study the function of a mutation found in AML patients to learn how it might be used as a therapeutic target.
Based on progress to date, Schuback was awarded a new grant this year to fund an optional third year of her research fellowship. With her grant, she aims to improve treatment for children with AML by studying a specific gene found in children diagnosed with the disease.