Reflecting Back on 2023

The start of a new year offers the opportunity to explore organizational highlights over the previous 12 months; here are a few exceptional events from 2023.


Highlights of 2023

February: ConnectMyVariant, the BBI-funded program serving individuals and families with hereditary cancer, becomes become a non-profit organization enabling it to expand in the United States and internationally. It educates people with hereditary cancer to understand their own inherited genetic mutations and to find and communicate with relatives with the same genetic risks of cancer.

April: The Puget Sound Business Journal honors BBI’s Andrew Stergachis as one of “40 under 40” business leaders. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Genome Sciences at UW Medicine, and develops new tools to help take genome mapping data from the lab to the clinic.

May: Researchers at UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s Research Institute are awarded a $12.5 million grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to study variations in the genomes of normal cells. Researchers include: Dr. Jimmy Bennett, associate professor of pediatrics and principal investigator in the Center for Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute; Evan Eichler, UW Medicine professor of genome sciences; and Andrew B. Stergachis, UW Medicine assistant professor.

June: Members of BBI’s Husky Coronavirus Testing receive the university’s Distinguished Staff Award for their innovation, the only team award for 2023. University President Ana Mari Cauce remarks, “The scale of their impact is amongst the most significant mobilizations in our university’s history… the Husky Coronavirus Testing Team saved lives. They saved lives.”

June: BBI receives a five-year, $4.7 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Advancing Genomic Medicine Research program to identify the clinical utility of large-scale functional data and how best to translate for physicians to incorporate into clinical practices. Drs. Andrew Stergachis and Lea Starita are co-principal investigators on the project.

July: The 6th annual Mutational Scanning Symposium convenes July 13 and 14 at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK. Dr. Frederick (Fritz) Roth delivers the keynote address; he serves on the executive committee of the Atlas of Variant Effects Alliance.

August: BBI hosts CDC officials visiting the UW Pathogen Genomics Center of Excellence, one of five in the nation funded by the CDC to prepare for and respond to microbial threats to public health. The delegation includes Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, as well as several Washington DOH officials and representative of Washington’s congressional delegation.

September: Dan and Pamela Baty, benefactors of BBI, receive the UW’s Gates Volunteer Service Award for their “lifetime of philanthropic giving, volunteerism and impact.” Susan Brotman, widow of Jeff Brotman, is one of the speakers, remarking, “The Baty family exemplifies generosity, commitment and kindness… (and a) lifetime of philanthropic giving, volunteerism and impact.”

November: BBI’s first Long Read Sequencing Symposium is deemed “inspirational” and meets its three overarching goals: 1) bringing together Seattle-area users of long-read sequencing to learn from each other; (2) building new collaborations; and (3) exploring potential synergies among users. Scientific advisor Dr. Danny Miller believes many, if not all, of the 80-plus participants gain new observations and insights into long-read sequencing.

December: BBI and UW Medicine launch a ‘new age of experimentation’ with Allen Institute and Chan Zuckerberg in establishing the Seattle Hub for Synthetic Biology. It is a landmark, five-year, $70 million collaboration to build new technologies to record the history of cells over time.