Dean’s Corner: Transformational Gift

The following is the text of a letter sent by Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley to the HMS community

Dear Members of the Harvard Medical School Community,

It is with a great sense of excitement that I announce that Harvard University has received a momentous $200-million commitment to benefit Harvard Medical School. This gift—the largest in the School’s history—is from the Blavatnik Family Foundation. It will propel our shared mission to transform human health and advance our work in service to the world.

This morning, I join President Lawrence Bacow in expressing deep gratitude for this generous gift, which will fund a series of initiatives that will strengthen fundamental discovery at HMS, spur the next generation of precision therapies and enable advances in data science. 

Specifically, the gift will:

  • Fund a therapeutics initiative to advance novel approaches to the conceptualization, discovery and development of new therapies.
  • Spark fertile new intellectual communities by enriching the School’s pool of scientific talent and integrating data science, computational and systems capabilities and applications.
  • Build bridges across disciplines and areas of inquiry through a robust community grants program that brings scientists together to solve pressing biomedical challenges.
  • Launch the Blavatnik Harvard Life Lab Longwood, an incubator space on the HMS campus for early-stage, high-potential biotech start-ups.

Read more about this transformational gift here

In recognition of this remarkable generosity, we are establishing the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School. This umbrella research organization will encompass and give unique identity to the pioneering work of our 10 basic science and social science departments.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation is a steadfast supporter of leading scientific, educational, cultural and charitable institutions in the U.S., the U.K. and around the world. Led by business leader, entrepreneur and philanthropist Len Blavatnik, MBA ’89, the Foundation is known for its substantial commitments to advancing life-sciences innovation globally, such as the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists.

The Foundation’s history of support at Harvard began in 2007 with the establishment of the Biomedical Accelerator Fund. In 2013, the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator at Harvard University was created, along with the Blavatnik Fellowship in Life Science Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School.

Many HMS faculty members—including Ulrich von Andrian, Christophe Benoist, Ying Kai Chan, George Church, David Ginty, Diane Mathis, Lee Rubin and Priscilla Yang—have received support from the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator to advance translational efforts in areas spanning cancer immunology, regenerative medicine, neuroscience, infectious disease and reproductive medicine.

We are deeply grateful for this trailblazing gift and the promise it carries. This is indeed a new chapter in the history of Harvard Medical School, as we work together to pursue deeper insights into the fundamental mechanisms of living things, develop life-altering therapies and reshape the course of human health.


George Q. Daley
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
Harvard University