The Duchossois Family Institute to launch this fall

Duchossois Family Foundation

The Duchossois Family Foundation. Standing (L to R): Craig J. Duchossois, Janet Duchossois, Ilaria Woodward, Jessica Swoyer Green, Dayle Duchossois Fortino. Seated (L to R): Ashley D. Joyce, Richard L. Duchossois, Kimberly Duchossois

The establishment of the Duchossois Family Institute: Harnessing the Microbiome and Immunity for Human Health was recently announced.  This institute has been made possible by an incredible $100 million gift from Craig Duchossois, Chairman and CEO of The Duchossois Group Inc., a member of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board since 1988 and the University Board since 2001; his wife Janet Duchossois, and The Duchossois Family Foundation. We are immensely grateful to the Duchossois family for their commitment and longstanding support. Since 1980, the family has given $37 million to the Medical Center, including a transformative $21 million gift to establish the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, the first facility dedicated to outpatient care on the UChicago Medicine campus. Three generations of the Duchossois family have been involved in making the new $100 million gift, and it has been my pleasure to work with them to develop a shared vision for using the power of science to promote wellness.

The scientific focus of the Institute was developed over two years of discussions between members of our faculty, led by T. Conrad Gilliam, the Dean for Basic Science and the Marjorie I. and Bernard A. Mitchell Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Human Genetics, and members of the family.  The overall goal of the Duchossois Family Institute will be to further knowledge on the interactions between the immune system, genetic factors and the microbiome, and then to determine how this knowledge can be used to promote human health. The Institute will be headed by an eminent scientist, who will be identified by a national search. This search will be initiated shortly.

The resources provided by the Institute will be used to recruit outstanding faculty who will be appointed in our departments, to provide seed funding for innovative research projects and funds to support students and fellows. In addition, a series of research and development platforms will be developed that will enhance our research infrastructure. Platforms under consideration include medicinal chemistry, the use of metabolomics to develop next generation biomarkers, high throughput microbiome sequencing as well as a data integration and analytics platform and a microbiome data commons.  It is anticipated that this additional infrastructure will have a positive impact on research in the BSD and will benefit our faculty broadly. The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will play an important role in The Duchossois Family Institute. As part of the gift agreement, it is expected that discoveries made under the auspices of the Institute will lead to intellectual property that can be patented and will form the basis of new companies. Funds will also be used to support training in the Polsky Center.  

This exciting new program is built on the accomplishments of our faculty — particularly in the areas of genetics and genomics, the microbiome, immunology and data analytics that positioned us to receive this transformative gift, the largest single gift ever in support of biology and medicine at the University of Chicago.