The Broad Institute pursues high-impact projects focused on major challenges in biomedicine. Because of our collaborative, cross-disciplinary approach, these efforts involve researchers from diverse backgrounds and affiliations, allowing the Broad to leverage unparalleled resources. Our projects cover a wide spectrum of activities—from developing critical technologies, tools, and methods to accelerate scientific discovery to translating new biological insights into new therapeutics.

Below are areas of research where we are seeking philanthropic partners. For more information on any of these funding priorities or other areas of interest, please contact Priya McCue, Chief Development Officer, at

Cancer research has undergone an astonishing revolution. Thanks to recent advances, we can envision a future where most cancers will be treated like chronic conditions managed with biologically driven treatments based on a patient’s detailed genetic information. This includes the mutations driving their cancer, all possible ways of blocking tumor growth, and predictions of how the tumor may become drug resistant.

Since the Broad’s founding in 2004, the Cancer Program has played a central role in driving this revolution in understanding cancer. The program deploys the institute’s powerful capabilities in investigating genes and potential therapeutic targets. Our research is rigorously systematic and comprehensive, and we work closely with the community of cancer researchers across the Boston ecosystem and beyond. Ongoing cancer research projects for which we are seeking philanthropic partners include:

  • Developing comprehensive strategies to overcome cancer drug resistance, systematically identify and de-risk new targets for therapeutic development, and tackle other challenges.

  • Developing more faithful disease models and making advanced cancer models compatible with new screening methods, and deploying these models to discover new biological insights.

  • Discovering and de-risking drug leads for difficult-to-treat cancers.

  • Empowering patients to share their genomic and other health information to accelerate research.

  • Pioneering new diagnostic technologies, including less invasive techniques such as blood biopsies.

News coverage on our cancer research

Cardiometabolic syndrome—a cluster of risk factors that increases one’s susceptibility to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity—has reached epidemic levels in the United States, and rates of the disorder are rising worldwide.

While lifestyle factors like diet and exercise contribute to these disorders, they don’t fully explain why some populations are at a higher risk than others. Researchers at the Broad seek to understand how genomic variation contributes to disease risk and responses to treatment. Moreover, our researchers hope to redress historically biased investigations that focus mainly on populations of European descent, and they are working with our network of international collaborators to ensure genetic studies reflect the world’s diversity.

Identifying risk genes is not the end goal. Instead, we use them as clues to the biological mechanisms and pathways that affect disease risk and may serve as therapeutic targets. Our researchers in cardiometabolic disease are pioneers in developing new tools and methods to translate disease genes into their biological mechanisms.

We are seeking philanthropic partners in the following projects:

  • Fully defining the genetic causes of cardiometabolic disease, including common heart diseases.

  • Investigating how genomic variation contributes to diabetes disease risk and responses to treatment.

  • Finding promising targets by unlocking the biological mechanisms underlying cardiometabolic disease.

  • Driving the discovery and testing of novel therapeutics for promising targets.

News coverage on our research in cardiometabolic disorders

Dysfunction in the human immune system plays a central role in a wide variety of diseases. It can be a defining feature in diseases such as cancer and autoimmune disorders like inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also being uncovered in diseases ranging from neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders to heart diseases.

The Broad’s Immunology Program brings a multi-disciplinary lens to deciphering the immune processes that play a central role in both healthy and disease states. By bringing together faculty with varied backgrounds, it hopes to advance our knowledge of specific immune cells, to characterize how these cells participate in their immediate environment within the organ, and to understand how these cells interact with other cells as well as pathogens. Our investigators are working to draw an unprecedented map for immune function and thus lay the groundwork for potential therapeutic interventions.

We are seeking philanthropic partners in the following projects:

  • Discovering and fully defining the biological mechanisms underlying autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

  • Developing ways to predict these diseases.

  • Developing powerful new tools to characterize and exploit immune function, and drive the discovery and testing of novel therapeutics for autoimmune, inflammatory, and infectious diseases.

News coverage on our research in immunology

Infectious diseases are the leading killers in the developing world—and, as the Covid-19 pandemic made painfully clear, no one is immune. The Broad Institute is deeply committed to using the most advanced tools in genomics, the data sciences, and other fields to better understand the mechanisms driving infectious diseases, antibiotic resistance, and the function of the human microbiome. And, we are taking the same comprehensive, systematic approach as we do in other areas to improve diagnosis and treatment for individual patients and combat outbreaks.

Scientists within our Infectious Disease and Microbiome Program have been at the forefront of using viral genomics to detect and track emerging pathogens to guide public health interventions. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our viral genomics team developed new methods to detect emerging variants and collaborated closely with partners across the U.S. and Africa to share data, tools, and ideas, and empower public health decision-makers.

In parallel, Broad scientists are investigating the complex interactions between pathogens and the human hosts that determine whether the disease develops, how it progresses, and patient outcomes. Our recently launched Center for Integrated Solutions to Infectious Diseases is devoted to unraveling pathogen-host interactions with unprecedented molecular detail and developing powerful new weapons—laboratory tools, rapid diagnostics, and promising drug leads—to ensure that these research efforts have an immediate impact on patients.

We are seeking philanthropic partners in the following ongoing areas:

  • Creating scalable surveillance tools for monitoring the evolution and spread of infectious diseases.

  • Understanding the genetic and environmental factors that influence outcomes of individual patients.

  • Investigating the adaptations that occur as part of the complex host-pathogen dynamic, such as pathogen genetic evolution and host immune response.

  • Developing the technologies and tools that drive towards functional and mechanistic insight into infection and enable translation to patient interventions.

  • Developing more sensitive and rapid methods for diagnosing disease and characterizing infection to guide treatment and public health decision-making.

  • Creating new approaches to developing therapeutics, with a focus on emerging drug resistant strains of tuberculosis and other bacterial infections.

News coverage on our infectious disease research

Founded in 2007, the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research seeks to bring state-of-the-art scientific tools and methods to bear on serious psychiatric disorders and ease the burden for patients and their families.

Working with a global network of collaborators, Stanley Center researchers seek to construct the genetic architecture of major neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism spectrum disorders in order to find biological pathways implicated in these disorders and possible therapeutic targets. In order to do so, they have assembled the world’s largest collection of DNA samples of psychiatric disease, and have developed cutting-edge tools and methods, including new models of the human brain and new analytical approaches to translate genetic findings.

Recently Stanley Center scientists led two international studies that revealed some of the strongest genetic risk factors for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to date. They are now seeking to translate those genetic associations into mechanistic insights, with the aim of using those insights to de-risk approaches to therapeutic intervention.

We are seeking philanthropic partners in the following projects:

  • Defining the genetic factors that contribute to neuropsychiatric diseases, focusing on schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism.

  • Elucidating the biological effects of the genes and variants that have been discovered.

  • Developing the molecular tools to identify pathways and networks in human neural cell types.

  • Identifying the most promising therapeutic targets for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

  • Applying genetic discoveries to better predict risk in human populations.

  • Understanding how biological mechanisms influence adverse reactions to trauma, especially during childhood, via the Biology of Trauma Initiative, with the aim of improving interventions for survivors.

  • Defining the genetic architecture and functional mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, and diversifying patient sample collections.

News coverage on our research in psychiatric disease

Nearly one in 10 people globally are affected by a rare genetic disease. Patients with rare diseases are often severely ill, but they face limited treatment options.

The Broad is committed to leveraging the latest advances in biomedicine to rapidly accelerate the discovery and development of treatments and cures for rare diseases. To fulfill this mission, we are bringing together state-of-the-art technologies, scientific expertise, clinical experience, the biopharma and regulatory community, and patients and advocacy groups.

We are seeking philanthropic partners in the following projects:

  • Defining the genomic basis of disease classes, understanding the functions of the key genes that are discovered, and developing novel approaches to therapy.

  • Building a diverse community of collaborators empowered to apply scalable technologies to gain new mechanistic insights and propel treatment.

  • Enabling clinicians to provide rare disease patients with definitive diagnoses.

  • Partnering with patients living with rare diseases to capture essential information in secure data portals that can accelerate new discoveries.

    News coverage on our rare disease research

The earliest medicines were mostly serendipitous discoveries from nature. Then, in the late 20th century, we entered a new era of targeted therapeutics based on proteins or small molecules. Although modern medicine has vastly improved human health, small-molecule drug discovery takes an enormous amount of time and money. Moreover, many conditions—from rare genetic conditions to common neurodegenerative disorders—remain untreatable.

Broad scientists have also catalyzed a major paradigm shift in therapeutic development by pioneering breakthrough gene-editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9 and base editing, that strike at the root causes of diseases. Broad researchers are also working to engineer efficient vehicles for safely and efficiently delivering gene therapies to specific cells and organs. These revolutions promise to both dramatically accelerate the speed at which medicines are created and open new therapeutic avenues for difficult-to-treat diseases.

At the same time, the Broad’s Center for the Development of Therapeutics has spearheaded new methods to accelerate the pace at which new medicines are developed. They partner closely with investigators from across the Broad community to take on ideas that might be considered too risky or early for industry, combining deep biological knowledge with state-of-the-art technologies to pursue drug targets.

Philanthropic partnerships are critical in supporting the rigorous research needed to bring these innovations closer to the clinic. We are seeking philanthropic partners in the following ongoing projects:

  • Engineering modular, programmable therapeutics that accurately and consistently strike at the root causes of diseases.

  • Discovering and harnessing systems that can be programmed to safely deliver gene therapies to specific cells and organs.

  • Developing the next wave of groundbreaking therapeutic modalities, including finding novel methods and tools to accelerate the early-stage drug discovery process.

News coverage on our next-generation therapeutic research

As the Broad enters its second decade, our researchers are seeking to build on our foundation and use our approach to help advance emerging scientific directions. Theses include:


Human genetics studies have led to the identification of more than 200,000 robust genetic associations with common diseases. However, scientists still do not have the tools and methods they need to systematically map these associations to specific genes and then onto their functions—and generate therapeutic hypotheses to design new medicines. This is a major bottleneck for the development of new therapies for common diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. Learn more here.

Spatial transcriptomics

All cells have the same set of genes—what determines their type and how they act depends on which genes they express. Cells also don’t act alone—in order to truly understand what might be happening in health and disease, we need to understand cells in the context of tissue. To achieve this, Broad scientists have pioneered an important new innovation called spatial transcriptomics that gives scientists the ability to map gene activity within tissues. By revealing which cells are expressing which specific genes, spatial transcriptomics gives us insights into the role specific cells play in tissues. This has enormous potential to impact our understanding of developmental biology, disease biology, and a new approach to diagnostics and treatment. Learn more here.

Neurodegenerative Diseases

As the world’s population ages, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are becoming increasingly prevalent. Despite the enormous investment into this field, major therapeutic breakthroughs have been sparse. With increasing evidence that these disorders share common genetic risk factors and biological mechanisms, the Broad is seeking to help advance the search for new treatments by generating new foundational datasets, creating better models of the human brain, and leveraging new technologies such as cutting-edge gene-editing tools to explore both biological mechanisms and possible therapeutic targets. Learn more here.

Machine Learning

The Broad has long been at the forefront of applying advanced mathematical and computational approaches to answer biology’s most confounding questions. We are home to many efforts to bring machine learning to bear on health and medicine, including the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Center—which seeks to understand the ‘programs of life’—by creating a new field and a community at the interface of machine learning and biology. The convergence of these two fields, as well as advances in cellular imaging and other technologies, promises to yield a deeper understanding of biological processes at a scale and speed that is unprecedented. Learn more here.

Investing in talented scientists has been crucial to the Broad’s mission of improving the understanding and treatment of human disease. The biggest challenges in biomedicine—finding cures for cancer, overcoming antibiotic resistance, and unraveling psychiatric disease—can only be conquered if promising scientists are nurtured at crucial stages of their careers. This requires not only mentoring and training, but also providing resources that allow them to pursue their most ambitious ideas. These resources include a collaborative, multi-disciplinary environment; world-class scientific infrastructure; and seed funds to launch innovative, risk-taking projects.

We have worked with philanthropic partners to launch fellowships and awards that provide support to our most exceptional investigators. We continue to seek philanthropists who are eager to have an impact on the next generation of scientists. Below is a sample of some opportunities in this area.

Broad Summer Research Program

Diversity and inclusion in biomedical research are critically needed. The Broad Summer Research Program (BSRP) is the Broad’s flagship effort in helping to achieve this goal. Conducted over nine weeks, this highly selective program provides intensive mentorship and hand-on research experience to outstanding science majors from underrepresented backgrounds.

Broad Summer Scholars Program

The Broad Summer Scholars Program (BSSP) provides motivated, curious high school students from the Greater Boston area the opportunity to participate in world-class scientific research.

STEM Education and Inclusion

The Broad has launched several educational programs to increase access to research for K-12 students and boost the diversity of the next generations of scientists, including Scientists in the Classroom, which teaches eighth grade students about genetics and evolution research, and a weekly, after-school program called the Bio-Coding Code.


Nurturing the next generation of scientific leaders has been at the core of the Broad since the institute was founded. BroadIgnite is an exciting initiative to support the bold ideas of early-career scientists—who often have difficulty obtaining funding from traditional sources—by connecting them with emerging philanthropists.

Seed/Pilot Funding for Early-Stage Science

The biggest breakthroughs in science come from the most ambitious, risk-taking ideas. Since 2005, the Broad’s Scientific Projects to Accelerate Research and Collaborations (SPARC) program has provided seed funding for high-risk, high-reward research projects, thereby giving scientific trailblazers the resources they need to be daring and inventive.

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