Rainin Foundation Welcomes New Scientific Advisory Board Member - Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Rainin Foundation Welcomes New Scientific Advisory Board Member

Janelle Ayres writes on glass window in her lab. Janelle Ayres in her lab. Photo courtesy of Salk Institute.

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board is a dynamic mix of leading researchers and key strategic partners. They provide essential guidance and scientific expertise to strengthen our Health grantmaking and strategies toward curing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). We are excited to welcome Dr. Janelle Ayres as a member and Dr. Bana Jabri as a new co-chair. We also extend our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Michael Fischbach, a longtime member who is stepping down.

“We all benefit from the interplay of expertise and groundbreaking perspectives among the researchers on our Scientific Advisory Board. Their experience, insights and advocacy for innovative ideas in IBD research have been central to advancing our grantmaking to improve patients’ lives.”

Laura Wilson, PhD, Director, Health Strategy & Ventures

Advancing IBD Research Through A Broad Lens

Our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) exemplifies the collaboration and diverse perspectives that are needed to solve Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The addition of Janelle Ayres, PhD to this board is a tremendous asset for our work. She brings a systems-level view to understanding basic biological processes along with broad expertise in the pivotal role of bacteria in chronic disease. As a molecular and systems physiologist at the Salk Institute, her research delves into evolutionary theory and how microbes interact with our physiological systems to promote—or impair—optimal health. Dr. Ayres’ insights led her to a provocative reconsideration of the adversarial interaction between bacterial infections and immune response. In November, she presented highlights of her research at our 2021 Innovations Symposium. Dr. Ayres’ groundbreaking advances have profound implications for new therapies to treat a variety of diseases. We are thrilled to welcome her to the SAB.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to join the Rainin Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board. I’ve seen first-hand how the Foundation’s multidisciplinary approach has brought together scientists, clinicians, patients, caregivers, advocates and others to drive Inflammatory Bowel Disease research forward in new and unprecedented ways and I am proud to serve.”

Janelle Ayres, PhD, Salk Institute

In addition, Dr. Bana Jabri has been named co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, joining long-time chair, Dr. Averil Ma. Since becoming a member in 2017, Dr. Jabri has been a vocal advocate for the Rainin Foundation’s strategies to support translational science. She has also championed early career researchers and gender equity, which are crucial to achieving breakthroughs for patients. Former co-chair Dr. Tejal Desai will remain a member, continuing to bring her bioengineering expertise and valuable perspectives to our work.

“I’m delighted to partner with Dr. Ma in this role and continue collaborating with advisory board colleagues to promote transformational, interdisciplinary research in IBD. Supporting the next generation of outstanding young physicians, physician-scientists and scientists is crucial to achieving new breakthroughs.”

Bana Jabri, MD, PhD, University of Chicago

Finally, we bid farewell to Michael Fischbach, PhD, who joined the advisory board in 2015. Dr. Fischbach’s strong background in the mechanics of the microbiome and the chemical output of bacteria has significant relevance to understanding IBD. His deep knowledge has been instrumental to elevating the microbiome in our strategic priorities.

Meet The Advisory Board At Our Innovations Symposium

The Rainin Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board plays a central role in guiding the choices we make to advance promising IBD research. They also bring their knowledge and enthusiasm to our annual Innovations Symposium. You can meet them along with other researchers, trainees and clinicians at our 2022 Innovations Symposium, which will be held virtually on July 25-July 27, 2022.