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Seeking to Cure Diseases of Our Time in Our Time

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The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases (IMM) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston was established in 1995 in the heart of the Texas Medical Center – the world’s largest.  The IMM is focused on studying and preventing diseases at the genetic, cellular and molecular levels using DNA and protein technologies and animal models. The IMM is part of the Texas Therapeutics Institute, a multi-institutional collaboration encouraging drug discovery.

The Institute of Molecular Medicine

Opened in 2006, the 229,000-square-foot Fayez S. Sarofim Research Building houses the IMM’s research centers:

  • Human Genetics
  • Cardiovascular Genetics
  • Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases
  • Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine
  • Immunology and Autoimmune Diseases
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Senator Lloyd Bentsen and B.A. Bentsen Center for Stroke Research
  • Texas Therapeutics Institute
  • Translational Cancer Research

Current Research at the IMM

  • Properties and therapeutic applications of adult and embryonic stem cells
  • Links between obesity and cancer
  • Relationship between excessive fat accumulation and diabetes
  • First in-human images of near-infrared fluorescence
  • Genetic variants tied to increased cardiovascular and stroke risk
  • Proteomics and systems biology in cancer and immunology
  • Antibody, aptamer and small molecule drug discovery programs
  • Nanomedicine in cancer and infectious diseases
  • Glycobiology of the Notch signaling pathway


“Our genes and proteins are the game officials of our lives. They already know if you have a cancer in your future.

Or dementia. Or some other devastating disease. We must identify these genes and proteins in our bodies and discover ways in which they might be altered to prevent those diseases from occurring in the first place . . .

That research is the role of the IMM”

James T. Willerson, M.D.

IMM DayThe Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases is a research institute that seeks to investigate the cause of human diseases at the cellular and molecular levels, using DNA and protein technologies to elucidate disease mechanisms. Its development and progress are of particular interest for future planning in the increasingly important area of clinical research. The Institute endeavors to design methods of rational therapy and, wherever possible, strategies for the prevention of human diseases.

Advances in molecular and cell biology have enormous potential for innovative medical research and the future practice of medicine with more novel therapies. These approaches have been most successfully used to determine the causes of infectious disorders and genetic diseases.

However, it is clear that molecular and cell biology will play a major role in clarifying the causes of many unsolved problems of modern medicine: heart disease, hypertension, vascular disorders, major mental illnesses, inflammatory and immunologic diseases, etc. The research of the Institute’s investigators is inspiring and promises to fulfill the mission of the IMM.

Because the application of molecular and cell biology to medical practice are of major importance to product development in biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, the IMM has the potential and desire to form important links and collaborations between its own research activities and various industries to apply its discoveries and intellectual properties to pharmaceutical opportunities.

The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases strives to set the example for research excellence and collaboration locally, nationally and internationally.

The IMM has two major objectives:

The first drives the second.  Medical advancements occur when breakthrough discoveries give new insight into disease.  Discovery is therefore, the highest priority for the IMM faculty.  This is a major challenge, since cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s diseases are unsolved, common, and not caused by a single gene.  Discoveries lead to new solutions.

The second objective is the patient benefit.  New diagnostics and therapies are derivative of discovery.  The IMM focuses on these medical solutions.  The IMM has  organized Texas talent in the Texas Therapeutics Institute (TTI) to achieve this goal of patient benefit from discovery.

IMMpact Report website