MAY 25TH, 2017, 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM 

With all the positive breakthroughs occurring in life science research, it is hard to imagine that public trust in the field is on the decline. In fact, public opinion on a number of issues contrasts sharply with the scientific evidence - look no further than the recent vaccination challenges. However, innovations in research depend on this trust, and NWABR knows that this requires openness, transparency, and honesty. It also requires a concerted effort to tell compelling stories and to advocate on behalf of biomedical research.

At the 2017 Speak Up for Research Gala we will highlight the need for better storytelling, stronger advocacy, and bridge building. We hope you join us to share your compelling story and to advocate strongly for biomedical research.

The NWABR Speak Up For Research Gala is a fundraiser for NWABR and more importantly it is an opportunity to celebrate success, reflect on the hard work being undertaken and look positively for the future.

The highlights of the Gala are the awarding of:

  • The Alvin J. Thompson Award that reflects high standing in the life science community with engagement in cutting edge research alongside a commitment to ethical research practices and the advancement of public trust in research.
  • Buster and Nancy D, Alvord Award that reflects recipients philanthropic contributions to the Northwest alongside their role as an advocate, educator, or donor in support of the local biomedical research community.
  • Honoring a select group of people who have provided exceptional service to NWABR.

NWABR is a 501(c)(3) organization.  Tickets for the Speak Up for Research Gala will be $95.00, and $65.00 of each ticket is tax deductible. 



If you would like to place your name on the reservation list, purchase a ticket, or sponsor a table, please contact Ken Gordon at executivedirector@nwabr.org or call 206-957-3337 to speak with someone from NWABR's friendly staff.

Proceeds from the gala support NWABR's educational work, engagement with students and the public, in support of NWABR's mission to promote the public's trust in biomedical research and its ethical conduct.





Buster and Nancy Alvord were and are great philanthropists in support of biomedical research and the arts in the Northwest. Importantly, the Alvord family did not just give money to support organizations; they also became involved as Board and Committee members, leading campaigns and raising public awareness of the causes that they supported. 

At NWABR we are sorely aware that the cause of biomedical research is not one in which mainstream philanthropy has a major role.  Many foundations step away from biomedical research because it is expensive, can be controversial, often has incredibly long pay back periods and, as those in pure science know, the knowledge gained may not directly have a viable use.

NWABR established the Nancy and Buster D. Alvord Award in 2014 in recognition of the fact that we need to commend those few brave foundations and individuals that step away from the pack to play in this field.  The first recipients of this Award were Nancy and Buster themselves. Last year the recipient was Kat Tiscornia a young woman with Ewing Sarcoma who both battled the disease and went on to raise over $500,000 to research better treatments for kids with cancer.

This year we have gone big – really big.  In 2013 Nike Founder Phil Knight, together with his wife Penny Knight, offered a $500.000 challenge grant to the Oregon Health and Sciences University.  The challenge they laid down was both simple and bold.  If the Oregon Health and Sciences University could raise a matching $500,000 then they would donate their share, allowing an even Billion dollars to be dedicated towards the clear and audacious vision of creating better methods of detecting lethal cancers at their earliest, most curable stages.  With the support of OHSU and 10,000 donors from Oregon and around the world this challenge was met on June 25, 2015, just 22 months after the campaign commenced.

OHSU has revolutionized the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia with Gleevec®, the world's first targeted cancer treatment. For hundreds of thousands of people, CML is no longer a death sentence. Now they are going after other cancers as aggressively as they come after us.

Cancer never calls time out. The toughest challenges in medicine don’t hit pause. And neither does the Knight Cancer center at OHSU.  OHSU sees the success of the Knight Cancer Challenge as a mandate to use the momentum we created to take on even more challenges.

NWABR is very proud this year to present the Buster and Nancy D. Alvord Award jointly to OHSU, Phil and Penny Knight and the entire community of Oregon and thanks Dr. Tom Beer for receiving the Award on their behalf.   




As NWABR's founding president, Alvin J. Thompson, MD helped bring together diverse stakeholders from across the research spectrum as an integral part of our organization’s formation and leadership.  It was crystal clear back then that there was a need for the biomedical research community to be able to compellingly articulate the benefits achieved for the wider community. Dr. Thompson was a diplomat and proud member of the Institute of Medicine who remained active in this organization until his passing in May 2012, and who generated trust and respect in both the medical and broader community.

 The Alvin J. Thompson Award was established in 2002.  Recipients of this Award have achieved high standing in the life science research community. They are known for, or engaged in, cutting edge research, and have demonstrated a commitment to ethical research practices and the advancement of public trust in research. Notable recipients of this Award include Lee Hartwell, King Holmes, Bryan Druker, Francis Collins and Cynthia Pekow.

It is with great pleasure that NWABR announces that the recipient of the award for 2016 is Dr. Charles (Chuck) Murry whom has epitomized the characteristics of an Alvin J. Thompson Award recipient through his lifetime commitment to biomedical research. 

Dr. Murry is a cardiovascular pathologist who has devoted his career to developing cures for heart disease - the number one cause of death in the U.S. For two decades Dr. Murry and his lab have studied the underlying mechanisms of, and potential treatments for, cardiovascular disease. Dr. Murry’s years of outstanding research have led to extremely promising new developments and successes using stem cells to regenerate cardiac muscle. Dr. Murry is recognized not only because of his exciting and groundbreaking work in this area, but also because he embodies the high ethical research standards that NWABR promotes and protects. As Dr. Richard Lee of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston said, Murry “is an extraordinarily careful and thoughtful investigator. When work comes out of his lab it makes us all feel better because we know we can trust it.”

Dr. Murry received his MD and PhD from Duke University. His PhD focused on mechanisms of cell injury during myocardial ischemia and reperfusion, and included the first description of the phenomenon of ischemic preconditioning. Dr. Murry has been at the University of Washington since he began his residency in the Department of Pathology in 1989 and is a current UW Professor in the Departments of Pathology, Bioengineering and Medicine/Cardiology as well as the Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Biology and Co-director for the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. He is founder of the Heart Regeneration Program (HRP) at the UW, which develops stem-cell therapies to combat the effects of heart disease.

Dr. Murry has also shared generously of his time and knowledge, mentoring over 100 undergraduate, pre and post-doc trainees, providing countless seminars, and authoring nearly 200 publications and book chapters.

His research has truly covered the spectrum from tissue culture to animal model to human clinical trials. Last year his lab received a $10 million grant from the Washington Research Foundation to pursue stem cell regeneration of heart tissue. 

Dr Murry’s work both inspires and gives hope everyone impacted by heart disease. He is an immensely deserving winner of this award.


PREVIOUS buster & Nancy D. Alvord AWARD HONOREES


Nancy D. and Buster Alvord


Kat Tiscornia


Phil and Penny Knight, the Oregon Health and Sciences University and the community of Oregon.


Previous Dr. Alvin J. Thompson Award Honorees


Lee Hartwell, PhD 
President and Director Emeritus, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Professor of Genome Sciences and Adjunct Professor of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine
American Cancer Society Research Professor of Genetics


King Holmes, MD, PhD
Chair and Professor, University of Washington Department of Global Health 
Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine
Adjunct Professor, University of Washington Department of Epidemiology 


Brian J. Druker, MD
Director, Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute


Francis Collins, MD, PhD, Director, National Institutes of Health, together with NWABR honored the University of Washington & Institute for Systems Biology Genome Pioneers

Philip Green, PhD
Professor of Genome Sciences
Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering and of Computer Science

LaDeana Hillier, PhD
Assistant Director, Genome Institute, Washington University School of Medicine 
Senior Research Scientist, Department of Genetics, Washington University School of Medicine

Deborah Nickerson, PhD
Professor of Genome Sciences, University of Washington
Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering, University of Washington

Maynard Olson, PhD
Professor of Genome Sciences and of Medicine, University of Washington
Adjunct Professor of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington

Robert Waterston, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington

Lee Rowen, PhD
Senior Research Scientist, Institute for Systems Biology


Greg Belenky, MD 
Research Professor Director, Sleep and Performance Research Center, Washington State University Spokane


Bonnie W. Ramsey, MD 
Director, Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Associate Director, Pediatric Clinical Research Center, Seattle Children’s Research Institute


Bill Dougall, PhD 
Scientific Director, Oncology Research, Amgen Corporation


Mario R. Capecchi, PhD 
Professor of Human Genetics and Biology, University of Utah School of Medicine
Recipient of The 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine


Student Bio Expo 10 year Anniversary


N. Jan Chalupny, PhD
Scientist, Amgen Corporation

Tom N. Hansen, MD 
Chief Executive Officer, Seattle Children’s Hospital

Jóse López, MD
Executive Vice President for Research, Puget Sound Blood Center

Lupe G. Salazar, MD 
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Oncology,
University of Washington School of Medicine

Beverly Torok-Storb, MEd, PhD 
Member, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Associate Head, Transplantation Biology Program, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center


Cynthia Pekow, DVM, MS, DACLAM
Chief, Veterinary Medical Unit, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine

Nitin Baliga, PhD
Senior Vice President and Director Integrative Biology, Professor, Institute for Systems Biology

Gregory Foltz, MD
Director, Center for Advanced Brain and Tumor Treatment, Swedish Medical Center


Dr. Leroy Hood, Ph.D.
President, Insitute for Systems Biology


Dr. Larry Corey
President and Director, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center


Dr. Saul Rivkin

Founder and Chairman of the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research and Medical Oncologist at Swedish Medical center


DR. CHarles Murray

Regenerating the Heart: Dr Charles Murry's Lab is dedicated to restoring quiality of life to those impacted by heart Diseases through the uses the potential of stem cells to repair diseased heart tissue.


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