Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Taubman Medical Research Institute?

In 2008 Michigan businessman and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman provided the initial funds to establish the institute, which now is part of the University of Michigan Medical School. 

Our mission is to provide the university’s finest medical scientists the freedom, resources and collaborative environment they need to push the boundaries of medical discovery, to produce breakthroughs in cures and treatment of disease and ultimately to alleviate human suffering.

The slogan of the Institute, “Where scientists create cures…” incorporates our mission of helping physician-scientists – doctors with active patient practices – speed the development of effective treatment for some of the most devastating illnesses. 

Where is it located?

buildingThe Taubman Medical Research Institute is housed in the A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building (AATBSRB) on the medical campus of The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Just a few blocks from U-M landmarks like the ‘Diag,’ State Street and the Baird Carillon, the 472,000 AATBSRB houses 240 state-of-the-art laboratory modules used by Taubman Scholars and other university departments. 

Office space, seminar rooms and a 300-seat auditorium make the BSRB a versatile research, learning and gathering center for some of the nation’s most cutting-edge scientists.

How is it funded?

In addition to the $100 million provided by Mr. Taubman, the institute relies on the support of other generous donors who have helped us create programs such as the Emerging Scholars grants and other initiatives. 

Individual gifts to the institute have ranged from $20 to seven-figure sums; contributions of any amount are gratefully received and applied to our ground-breaking programs.  We assure donors that 100 percent of their gift will be used to support the research and science of the Taubman Institute.

How are scientists selected to be Taubman Scholars?

In keeping with the mission of the Taubman Institute to foster practical results, we seek applications from what are known as clinician-scientists – that is, medical doctors with active patient practices who also direct their own research laboratories.

Proposals are reviewed by a scientific advisory board; applicants selected as Taubman Scholars are funded for three-year terms.

What are examples of some current Taubman Institute research?

Taubman Scientists are aggressively seeking treatment and cures for many of the diseases and conditions that most commonly affect our longevity and quality of life today – from prostate cancer to obesity to Alzheimer’s disease.  Currently 16 Taubman Scholars, including the Senior and Emerging Scholars, are supervising laboratories with the institute’s funding.

For example, Dr. David Pinsky, a Senior Taubman Scholar and Director of the U-M Cardiovascular Center, is exploring the potential of a powerful type defensive protein the body makes to impede clots, in hopes of finding therapies to treat stroke and heart attack.

Dr. Frank Brosius III, a Taubman Scholar and chief of the Nephrology Division, is investigating at the molecular level how elevated blood glucose levels damage the kidneys of diabetes patients with the goal of developing prevention and treatment strategies.

Emerging Scholar Dr. Ronald Buckanovich has identified two drugs that may directly target cancer stem cells and make traditional chemotherapy 10 times more effective.  Emerging Scholar Dr. Erika Newman is studying neural crest stem cells; her aim is to find more effective treatment for neuroblastoma, a common pediatric cancer.

What else does the Taubman Institute do?

  • The Consortium on Stem Cell Therapies, established in 2009 and also located at the BSRB, is the first center in Michigan and one of only a handful in the nation to derive embryonic stem cell lines.  The consortium, directed by Taubman scientists Sue O’Shea, Ph.D. and Gary Smith, Ph.D.,  focuses on developing embryonic stem cell lines that contain the genetic defects for inherited diseases, giving scientists unprecedented opportunities to develop new treatments and cures.  
  • We’ve inaugurated a Visiting Professor lecture series that brings renowned scientists – many nominated by our own Taubman Scholars – to campus for lectures and question sessions open to students and researchers campus-wide.
  • To encourage a vigorous exchange of ideas, we sponsor and promote regularly scheduled brown-bag sessions, talks and seminars for and among the Taubman scientists.
  • The Taubman Medical Research Institute hosts an Annual Symposium each fall, featuring presentations and updates by Dr. Feldman and the Taubman Scholars.  Each year a distinguished guest delivers the keynote address; in 2011, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder plans to discuss the importance of biomedical research and stem cell discoveries to the state’s economic recovery.   


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