A charitable research and education foundation to progress our fundamental understanding of the ‘rules of life’ via ‘convergence research’ to benefit humanity.OUR MISSION
To conduct transforming research and education through collaboration with leading academic and research institutions.EXTENDED MISSION STATEMENT
To gain a fundamental understanding of the ‘rules of life’ via ‘convergence research’, by merging approaches, tools and technologies from diverse fields of science and technology, such as medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, engineering and computer science. Viron Molecular Medicine Institute (MMI) is adopting integrative strategies that harness the power of the data revolution, utilizing computational approaches such as machine learning, to obtain a systems level understanding of the field under study at the institute. Additionally, the institute will nurture transforming research and education career paths through collaboration with leading academic institutions. With these goals in mind, the MMI has been established. Prof. Bhanu P. Jena will serve as the Academic President and Director.Diversity: MMI is fully committed to diversity of race, ethnicity, sex, age and sexual orientation.
MMI will be the genesis of a new field of study, the ‘Science and Medicine of Metabolism and Movement’, that will provide substantial new insights into the two critical interdependent life processes and to harness this knowledge to benefit society. How metabolism generates energy and how energy is used in generating movement is well known. However, insights into the emergent properties and nuances of these two highly coordinated processes in a living organism remains to be understood. Skeletal muscle used for locomotion is the largest metabolic organ, whereas the brain drives both locomotion and metabolism. The Institute's outreaching goal is to unravel the poorly understood coordinated workings of the brain and skeletal muscle in experimental cross-talk using engineered molecular tools and approaches while utilizing machine learning to establish neural networks that will provide a deep systems level understanding of the two processes. This objective is aligned with the ‘Big Idea’ of “understanding the rules of life” via “convergence research” by merging approaches, tools and technologies from a diverse field of science, engineering and medicine. The Institute will adopt integrative strategies that 'harnesses the data revolution' utilizing ‘machine learning’, to obtain a systems level understanding of metabolism and movement. Furthermore, the transformational education and career paths to be developed at the Institute in collaboration with leading academic institutions will contribute to bridging the knowledge gaps in our understanding of brain-skeletal muscle cross-talk. Results from the proposed studies will provide a breakthrough in our understanding of the most critical determinants in the survival and success of an organism and open a window to elucidating a wide range of life processes such as the brain neural network and cognition and the skeletal muscle cell atlas, and provide new and novel ideas in the development of tools and approaches for treating a broad spectrum of metabolic diseases such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, dementia, and even infectious diseases as a consequence of altered metabolism. MMI will be characterized as a highly interdisciplinary and multi-institutional Science and Technology Institute, featuring close collaborations among neurobiologists, muscle physiologists, physicians, physicists, engineers and computer scientists. The scope and duration of the Institute will enable a breadth and depth of activity not possible otherwise. The funding scale, the collective contribution of investigators with diverse expertise and Institute management, will allow research, education, training and knowledge transfer activities to be supported well beyond what is possible via uncoordinated individual or department-directed research within an academic institution.HISTORY
Given the focus at VIRON
to develop and deliver affordable medicines globally, the company has and continues to support various academic and research programs. VIRON in the past year has provided >$1 million for research on cancer and diabetes, and has pledged two endowed professorships worth $7.5M. In view of this objective, VIRON has decided to establish the “Viron Molecular Medicine Institute
" (MMI), a charitable research and education foundation to (1) Providing at no cost, especially its FDA-approved antivirals to the needy globally. (2) Support research on Infectious Diseases, Diabetes and Cancer. (3) Provide and support Summer internships to High School students, and (4) Support Summer Internships to MBA students interested in Health Care Management & the Development & Management of Biotechnology. VIRON has pledged a founding gift of $100 million to the MMI.