An Illustrious History
A scientist's job is to search for answers, to investigate the mysteries that stand between current knowledge and future progress. At the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, these explorations take place at the PAMF Research Institute. For more than fifty years, the Research Institute has served as a home for clinic doctors and other investigators to explore therapeutic ideas.
Dr. Russel Lee founded the Palo Alto Medical Research Foundation (now called the Research Institute) in 1950 as a center for basic and clinical research. More than a half century later, the Research Institute continues to conduct basic scientific and social research programs, to foster the exchange of ideas among scientists and the public and to provide research training for promising young scientists.
The Research Foundation's first director was Marcus Krupp, M.D. Krupp was an internal medicine physician with experience in laboratory work and he served as head of the organization for 36 years.
The Institute originally had just two scientists and four support staff members. With a $90,000 donation from the Lucie Stern Foundation, the staff set up shop in a two-story house Channing Street that had belonged to a junk dealer.
Though lacking a sophisticated set-up, it didn't take long for the Research Foundation to begin building an international reputation. The Research Foundation was able to recruit promising young scientists (see our timeline research/researchtimeline.html). Many researchers came and stayed for their entire careers. Unlike in an academic setting, they did not have to teach and there was little outside interference.
In 1956, after only six years of existence, the Research Foundation was awarded a National Institutes of Health grant for the construction of new research facilities. With a new building completed in 1958, the Research Foundation was able to expand its staff. Scientists studied a variety of topics, from the genetics of microorganisms to the genesis of schizophrenia.
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Among the standout researchers who joined the organization in those years were Jack Remington, M.D., now considered the world's leading expert on toxoplasmosis, and Anne Scitovsky.
Dr. Jack Remington is considered the world's leading expert on toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can cause severe complications for babies infected in utero and for patients with weakened immune systems.
In the 1960s, Anne Scitovsky conducted the country's first scientific studies on medical expenses, using the Clinic's patient records to assess how costs of care had changed since 1951. Her work was used on a national level in analyzing programs such as Medicare. Scitovsky later conducted research on the economics of AIDS care that led to the creation of the federal Ryan White program, which provides primary care, medications and support services to people living with HIV.
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Cardiovascular Biology and Biophysics
Over the years, the research organization's areas of focus have changed depending on the scientists it has employed. One mainstay has been bioengineering with emphasis on the physiology of the heart.
In the 1970s, a team headed by Neil Ingels, Ph.D., invented a technique to monitor heart motion that has led to breakthrough discoveries about how the heart pumps blood and influenced treatment of heart disease, post-operative heart bypass care and mitral valve repair. Dr. Ingels, who joined the Research Institute in the 1960s, still works there today. Immunology and infectious diseases has been another longstanding division.
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