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Children’s Research Institute receives $2.5 million grant from Moody Foundation for flow cytometry facility

Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) recently received a $2,551,291 grant from the Moody Foundation to help renovate, staff and buy equipment for CRI’s Flow Cytometry Facility. CRI is a unique joint venture that builds upon the comprehensive clinical expertise of Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and the internationally recognized scientific environment of UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“Throughout our seven-decade history, the Moody Foundation has funded many medical projects,” said Francie Moody-Dahlberg, executive director of the Moody Foundation. “We are very pleased to have an opportunity to support CRI. We think the enormous data analysis capabilities that the Flow Cytometry Lab provides will significantly enhance CRI’s endeavors in far-reaching ways.”

Flow cytometry is a powerful technology for investigating many aspects of cell biology. Flow cytometers are machines that can analyze and sort cells at extremely high rates. Their power comes primarily from the fact that they quantitatively analyze individual cells, thus permitting the identification of subpopulations of cells. The machines are a combination of lasers and computers that analyze the molecules on the surface of cells as a way of assessing the cellular compositions of tissues and separating different kinds of cells based on the surface markers they express.

“Flow cytometry is central to the research we do in the areas of regenerative medicine and cancer biology,” said Sean Morrison, Ph.D., director of the Children’s Research Institute. “We are grateful to the Moody Foundation for expanding our capabilities in this area and for providing the high-end instrumentation required to establish a premier facility, capable of supporting cutting-edge research. Without the Moody Foundation, and other leading philanthropies like it, we would not be able to conduct the caliber of medical research that is currently being done in Texas.”

The facility, under the management of Nicolas Loof, is a shared resource available to scientists of CRI and UT Southwestern. CRI hopes to recruit an additional faculty member in order to fully utilize the outstanding flow cytometry capabilities that are being established.

“We hope that the results of flow cytometry-derived data will lead to breakthroughs in the understanding of cancer and, ultimately, to new therapies for many devastating childhood diseases,” said Moody-Dahlberg.

This donation is the first gift CRI has received from the Moody Foundation. The foundation was created for the perpetual benefit of present and future generations of Texans by William Lewis Moody, Jr., and his wife, Libbie Shearn Moody. The foundation is now led by Moody descendants who emphasize ongoing foundation-initiated projects.

In 2011, CRI was launched and Morrison, a renowned stem cell researcher, was chosen as the founding director. The institute combines the comprehensive clinical expertise of Children’s, a nationally ranked pediatric hospital system, and UT Southwestern, an internationally recognized center for medical research.

CRI is currently home to two other laboratories, led by Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D., and Hao Zhu, M.D. Eventually, CRI will house more than a dozen laboratories conducting biomedical research at the interface of stem cell biology, cancer and metabolism.

Children’s pediatric health care system, inclusive of CRI, devotes itself to caring for the complex medical needs of children and through research, pursuing scientific breakthroughs that change the way we think about scientific problems and the treatments for incurable diseases. CRI relies upon philanthropy and endowments to help recruit world-class scientists and to provide reliable and stable funding for transformative research that will lead to discoveries that result in new treatments and cures.

“The Moody Foundation joins many in Dallas who know that supporting CRI’s leading-edge research is a worthwhile investment toward a healthier future,” said Moody-Dahlberg.

About Children’s Research Institute

Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) is a joint venture positioned to build upon the comprehensive clinical expertise of Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and the internationally recognized scientific environment of UT Southwestern Medical Center. CRI’s mission is to perform transformative biomedical research to better understand the biological basis of disease. Established in 2011, CRI is creating interdisciplinary groups of exceptional scientists and physicians to pursue research at the interface of regenerative medicine, cancer biology and metabolism, which together hold unusual potential for discoveries that can yield groundbreaking advances in science and medicine.

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