Developing a state-of-the-art diagnostic device using novel CRISPR technology, blocking the entrance of coronavirus into human cells, identifying existing FDA-approved drugs as treatments, and creating a research hub to support the study of live coronavirus—these are just a few of the projects that Gladstone scientists have pivoted to in order to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
But none of this work would be possible without funding from some of Gladstone’s most dedicated partners. The Roddenberry Foundation has pledged a gift of $1 million to the President’s Coronavirus Research Fund, which will catalyze critical experiments by Gladstone’s virologists and allow the scientists to quickly bring their expertise to bear on the global crisis.
The Roddenberry Foundation was established to honor the legacy of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. The foundation is committed to advancing Roddenberry’s faith in humanity by supporting organizations that can disrupt existing dynamics, challenge old patterns of thought, and discover new ways to help move toward a better future.
“We are proud to support Gladstone’s research and scientific endeavors in their pursuit of solutions to the pandemic.”
The foundation’s first gift to Gladstone established the Roddenberry Stem Cell Center in 2011, which helped establish Gladstone as a leader in the field of regenerative medicine. Since then, the foundation has been dedicated to supporting Gladstone’s stem cell and regenerative medicine research to impact devastating human diseases, leveraging futuristic science to help humankind, in perfect alignment with the ethos of Star Trek.
But as 2020 unfolded, the urgency of addressing the COVID-19 public health crisis became clear.
“The rapid spread of COVID-19 and the devastating impact it’s having across the globe requires immediate and diverse efforts from a wide swath of institutions,” said Heidi Roddenberry, board chair of the Roddenberry Foundation. “We are proud to support Gladstone’s research and scientific endeavors in their pursuit of solutions to the pandemic.”
This recent gift will enable Gladstone’s science to make an immediate impact in the world’s battle against COVID-19. From smartphone diagnostic tools to 3D miniature models of organs derived from stem cells, Gladstone scientists have been adapting their existing work to tackle the epidemic.
“The response of the scientific community has been nothing short of heroic and really unprecedented in terms of how rapidly researchers were able to focus their diverse expertise on COVID-19,” said Gladstone President Deepak Srivastava, MD. “Our virologists were uniquely positioned to address the pandemic and quickly brought in stem cell biologists, cardiac and brain experts, and even mathematicians to launch a multi-pronged attack on the virus. This gift from the Roddenberry Foundation could not come at a better time and is going to have a major impact on our ability to make groundbreaking discoveries that could save countless lives.”
The Roddenberry Foundation joins a number of organizations, including Atlantic Philanthropies, Amazon/AWS, Bain Consulting, and individual philanthropists, who are helping to accelerate Gladstone’s research as it expands capacity, invests in tools and technologies, and prepares for future viral outbreaks.