Behind every “eureka!” science headline is a story of perseverance. At La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI), donor support sustains many long-term studies and funds “high risk, high reward” projects from many of immunology’s brightest minds.
LJI is where supporters Raydene and Peter St. Clair really get to see the nuts and bolts behind scientific breakthroughs. The San Diego philanthropists started attending the LJI “Life Without Disease” lecture series a few years ago and were immediately enthralled.
“I could feel the excitement,” says Raydene. “What the scientists were doing had ‘tomorrow’ applications. I could see immediately how these studies could lead to new drugs or treatments for diseases like cancer.”
Peter was struck by how the culture at LJI fueled research breakthroughs. “What really makes LJI stand out is the focus on collaboration,” says Peter. “LJI is both an example and a beacon to the other professional groups around the world, demonstrating on a daily basis what scientists are able to accomplish by working together.”
Peter is a retired leader in banking and real estate finance. Raydene is a trained nurse and teacher who worked as a special education administrator. This duo knows about long work hours—and still, the work ethic at LJI has impressed them.
At one evening lecture, Peter noted how the scientists spoke passionately about their science and then headed right back up to their laboratories to keep working. The St. Clairs also appreciate how experts at LJI have dedicated time to speaking publicly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The St. Clairs support LJI researchers through regular donations, including funding for early career researchers via The Tullie and Rickey Families SPARK Awards for Innovations in Immunology.
“It may sound trite to say this, but giving to LJI gets you a big bang for your buck,” says Raydene. “People sharing ideas at LJI results in exponential growth once these projects launch.”
The St. Clairs are eager for more people to see the excellent effort of scientists of LJI as they research cancer immunotherapies, diabetes, viral infections, and more.
“That is an important part of the process,” says Peter. “New support comes through friends talking to friends and letting them come and listen—and see for themselves the value of the incredible science underway at LJI.”