The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University has announced a $125 million gift from alumnus Hansjörg Wyss (MBA, '65), whose earlier gift of $125 million funded the creation of the institute in 2009.
The second nine-figure gift from the Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist will enable the institute to advance its efforts to find solutions to complex bioengineering challenges, from developing tools to manipulate DNA to filtering toxins out of blood, by drawing on design principles found in nature. In addition to exploring how nature builds, controls, and manufactures, the institute seeks to translate new discoveries into products that create near-term impact for humanity.
The institute's research priorities are focused around six synergistic technology platforms: bio-inspired robotics, programmable nanomaterials, biomimetic microsystems, adaptive material technologies, anticipatory medical and cellular devices, and synthetic biology. Its partner institutions include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston University, Brigham and Women's Hospital, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts University Medical Center, Spaulding Rehabilitation Center, and Tufts University.
"We wanted to create a place where the innovation and imagination of the world's best minds could work beyond disciplinary boundaries to deliver life-changing medicines and technologies that are inspired by nature," Wyss said. "I could not have dreamt of the institute's remarkable discoveries thus far, and am proud and excited to help them continue to build, explore, and improve lives."