Band of Superheroes

What do you think about the institute?
As an initiative, the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM) is the bow wave of medical practice — I think it’s where healthcare is headed. Dr. Chuck Murry, the director and one of the lead investigators, seems tireless. He’s obviously a hugely talented scientist — a global force in cardiac regeneration research — as well as a gifted executive and an inspiring leader.

Tell us about the people.
Every time our committee meets, we’re treated to a science presentation — all in stem cell and regenerative medicine — in fields as diverse as cardiology, cancer, diabetes, leukemia, dementia, muscular dystrophy and so on. I also go to Chuck’s periodic “all-hands” meetings, when he gathers his troops over a pizza lunch. The brain trust in that auditorium is stunning — a band of superheroes. They innovate in every way, working with other areas, like computer science and engineering.

Does anything surprise you about their work?
Well, after four years of being treated to the achievements and moonshots of these investigators, I guess I’m not surprised by anything anymore. But one of the great early surprises was the genuine collaboration — they’re very supportive of one another. They share data, and every time one receives an honor or a grant, they all cheer. No silos. It’s exhilarating — and ultimately super-productive.

Why are you and your husband, Jerry, so invested in UW Medicine and the UW?
Oh, that’s easy — we see them at the forefront of change, and we love being in the room when it happens. Philanthropy is about vision and paying it forward. We’re benefiting from the visionaries who came before us. They, too, loved being in that room — now it’s our turn. My only regret is that we can’t write all the checks we’d like to write.

Final words?
The real trick is to live well, as well as to live long. To quote the investigators: It’s not the years in your life; it’s the life in your years. It’s an honor for us to play a small part.

Lyn Grinstein chairs the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Campaign Council, and is a member of the UW Medicine Campaign Initiatives Committee.
Lyn and Jerry Grinstein received the 2018 Ragen Volunteer Service Award from UW Medicine and the 2015 Gates Volunteer Service Award from the University of Washington.