A Chicago-area business family is giving $100 million to University of Chicago Medicine to research how the immune system, bacteria in the body and genetics can work together to keep people healthy, the Chicago Tribune reported. The Duchossois family’s donation is the largest single gift to University of Chicago Medicine in its history.
Craig Duchossois, chairman and CEO of The Duchossois Group, and his wife, Janet donated half of the amount, while the other half is from The Duchossois Family Foundation, which is made up of family members spanning three generations and includes patriarch Richard Duchossois, the chairman of Arlington International Racecourse, who started building his fortune making freight cars, the Tribune reported.
"A lot of the time, with illnesses and disease, we prolong death, and wouldn't it be a cool concept if we could prolong life and a healthy life?" Duchossois Joyce asked.
T. Conrad Gilliam, dean for basic science in the university's Division of the Biological Sciences, commented on the family's decision to focus on the microbiome. "It … appears that the microbiome affects nearly every organ and possibly every disease, so this is why we liked the family's idea that rather than try to go after each of these diseases, let's focus on how the microbiome can be manipulated to maintain a person's health," said Gilliam according to the Chicago Tribune, who will lead efforts to launch the project.