Director's Statement

Thank you for visiting our website to learn about the research supported by The Ellison Lawrence Ellison Foundation, the philanthropy created by Larry Ellison to catalyze biomedical research that benefits us all. The Foundation’s work is centered on nurturing underfunded areas of research to transform the course of scientific progress. A major area of interest is supporting research on the basic biology of aging. This program focus is based the firm belief that understanding how and why “age” itself contributes to disease risk is an important key to help develop newer, more effective ways to treat and prevent common chronic diseases, and maximize the healthy years of life.

Most technological and scientific advances are subtle improvements, enhancements, or adaptations of existing principles. And such advances are extremely important. But true discovery requires risk – taking a step into the unknown. The engine of scientific progress depends on revolutionary steps for lasting growth. But where do such revolutionary advances come from? In the past two or three decades, while there has been explosive growth in the biological sciences, the support for biomedical research has become risk-averse. Funding agencies are increasingly focused on the application of basic scientific knowledge - and prefer to fund the known, rather than the unknown. There is no question that translating laboratory progress into effective medical treatments is extremely important, and patient health depends on safe, proven, reliable methods. At the same time, the next generation of scientific breakthroughs will never see the light of day if we are unable to provide scientists with the freedom, flexibility and resources to take risks. With that principle in mind, the foundation was initially conceived by Larry Ellison and Dr. Joshua Lederberg, founding chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board. Funded with the generous support of Mr. Ellison, and implemented under the guidance of founding Executive Director Richard Sprott, the foundation has sought to provide those rare opportunities that allow scientific creativity and inspiration to flourish. I look forward to working with our Scientific Advisory Board to direct the Foundation’s growth as we continue our incredibly important mission to provide support for the future of biomedical science.

Kevin J. Lee, PhD 
Executive Director