BioMed 21 is a bold Washington University initiative dedicated to translating basic science discoveries into solutions for the world's biggest health problems.

Our Approach

Through its Interdisciplinary Research Centers (IRCs) and Cornerstone Centers, BioMed 21 promotes collaborative, strategically targeted basic science.



  • Collaborate and share resources

    To carry out its mission, BioMed 21 has established seven Interdisciplinary Research Centers (IRCs), which conduct disease-focused basic science in large, multidisciplinary teams. Three Cornerstone Centers augment the IRCs' efforts through shared technology, expertise and training, and also conduct their own research.

  • Focus efforts strategically

    Each IRC focuses on a specific area of medicine. Collectively, they target the world's major diseases, fueling Washington University's commitment to addressing mankind's greatest health problems, both in our local community and worldwide.

  • Study disease at its source

    The IRCs seek to understand the fundamental biological malfunctions that cause disease. For biggest impact, many focus on issues that underlie entire disease families, with the goal of devising solutions that can be applied broadly.

  • Translate knowledge into solutions

    As they uncover the root causes of disease, the IRCs are applying this powerful knowledge to develop ways to diagnose earlier and more accurately, tailor treatment to the individual and prevent disease effectively.

  • Apply solutions broadly

    BioMed 21's task is complex, but the payoff is staggering. We stand on the brink of transforming the very meaning of medicine — moving from treating symptoms of disease to arresting disease at its very root and even preventing illness altogether.

Our Priorities

BioMed 21 takes aim at the world's most important diseases.


The Brain

Cancer and Personalized Medicine

Diabetes, Heart Disease and Obesity

Infectious Diseases and Global Health

Women's and Children's Health

The Brain

BioMed 21 scientists seek to understand and address underlying processes of brain injury and disease. The ultimate goal: Find ways to diagnose early, treat effectively, and in some cases, prevent altogether. Among the targets: Alzheimer's disease, ALS, brain trauma, epilepsy, stroke and depression.

IRCs Involved

The BRIGHT Institute

Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology

Center for the Investigation of Membrane Excitability Diseases

Center for Study of Itch

Center for Women's Infectious Disease Research

Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease Center

Hope Center Program on Protein Aggregation and Neurodegeneration

Cornerstones Involved

Center for Clinical Imaging

The Genome Institute

Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences