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Changing Lives TogetherThe Power of RecruitmentGlobal Health and PartnershipsTraining the Next Generation of ScientistsOur Donors

Changing Lives Together

For more than 125 years, The Wistar Institute — the nation’s first independent biomedical research institute — has pursued discoveries that save lives and rechart the future of human health.

With your help, we’re pushing the boundaries of science and improving lives.

Over the last year, donors and funding partners have joined Wistar to advance a future for lifesaving, world-changing discoveries in science and medicine.

As this report demonstrates, your generosity fosters scientific potential, brings ideas to life, breaks down barriers and impacts lives around the globe. Your investment in Wistar science enables our scientists to address the medical needs of today and build a healthier world for tomorrow. Thank you.

The Power of
Philanthropy in 2020

You were one of


Together you gave over



Annual Gifts

Your gift had an immediate impact. Donors who give annually make an immediate difference and help address emerging and high-priority needs.

Loyal donors who have supported Wistar each year for the past 5 years

First-time donors

Endowed Gifts

Your gift has an enduring impact. Donors to endowed funds provide the Institute with a steady, predictable and perpetual source of income.


Value of The Wistar Institute endowments
(at the close of 2020)


Made available in 2020 from endowment funds to support research and training

See Our Generous Donors

The Power
of Recruitment

Medical breakthroughs are realized in research labs, disseminated in impactful peer-reviewed journal articles and eventually transformed into life-changing therapies, vaccines and diagnostics. But those breakthroughs originate in minds: the creative, courageous minds of our research faculty. Expanding our scientific talent pool and enhancing its multidisciplinary expertise within Wistar’s Cancer Center and Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center are focal points of our new strategic plan.

The Impact of Our Junior Faculty

Early-career investigators — those just beginning at the assistant professor level — are at the height of their scientific productivity and creativity, and often generate the bold sparks that lead to transformative scientific research. Therefore, attracting the most brilliant scientists and persuading them to launch their laboratories at Wistar positions the Institute ahead of a trend that is becoming increasingly popular in many research Institutions. But what sets Wistar apart is our commitment to mentor and support these early-career scientists, promoting and ensuring their success.

Over the last five years, we tracked five of our early-career faculty from the start of their careers at Wistar. Each one of them has secured significant federal and non-federal funding, published their work in leading peer-reviewed journals and made tremendous scientific impact.

Federal Funding


Non-Federal Funding


Number of Publications

Our Junior Faculty

Mohamed Abdel-Mohsen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Vaccine &
Immunotherapy Center
Immunology, Microenvironment &
Metastasis Program, The Wistar
Institute Cancer Center

Kavitha Sarma, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Gene
Expression & Regulation Program,
The Wistar Institute Cancer Center

Qing Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Immunology,
Microenvironment & Metastasis
The Wistar Institute Cancer Center
Scientific Director, Imaging Facility

Zachary Schug, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Molecular &
Cellular Oncogenesis Program,
The Wistar Institute Cancer Center

Alessandro Gardini, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Gene
Expression & Regulation Program,
The Wistar Institute Cancer Center

Our Newest Recruits

This year, to further strengthen our benches, Wistar faculty and leadership worked collaboratively to recruit four new outstanding early-career faculty members.

Motivated by the Hard Questions in Cancer Research, Noam Auslander, Ph.D., Forges New Paths in Computational Biology

Assistant Professor, Molecular & Cellular Oncogenesis Program,
The Wistar Institute Cancer Center

Bringing Together Cutting-Edge Technologies, Daniel Claiborne, Ph.D., Charts a Course for Solving Puzzles About HIV Infection

Caspar Wistar Fellow, Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center

Destined for Science, Amelia Escolano, Ph.D., Develops New Vaccination Strategies to Outsmart HIV-1 and Other Highly Mutating Pathogens

Assistant Professor, Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center

Studying Immunology and Cancer, Nan Zhang, Ph.D., Delves into the Mysteries of Ovarian Cancer Metastasis

Assistant Professor, Immunology, Microenvironment & Metastasis Program,
The Wistar Institute Cancer Center

Expanding the Caspar Wistar Fellows Program

Two years ago, philanthropists Doug and Peggy Briggs established the Caspar Wistar Fellowship to attract the most talented junior scientists from across the nation and beyond. Read more about this unique program and its three appointed fellows.

About the FellowShip

A Lasting Legacy

A Wistar endowment saves lives through science. Establishing a chair for a professor at The Wistar Institute is one of the most valuable investments someone can make to advance biomedical research that improves human health. The newly designated Martha Stengel Miller Professorship will support a Wistar faculty member working in the area of HIV research. This planned gift spans three generations of Wistar engagement, tracing all the way back to Dr. Alfred Stengel, Wistar’s fifth president/board chair.

About the Donors

Global Health
& Partnerships

Leading from its core values of determination, daring and humanity, The Wistar Institute fosters a local and global community that is unified by bold scientific thinking, leadership and a collaborative spirit. Thought leaders from nonprofits, healthcare, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, governments and other agencies of influence choose to work collaboratively with Wistar scientists to accelerate the creation of new therapies for patients worldwide.

Throughout its history, Wistar has been known as a value-adding partner that collaborates with people from diverse geographies, research areas and backgrounds to solve problems. Wistar’s advantage as a nimble, transparent and small research institute, with little bureaucracy, promotes collaboration and engagement with a wide audience.

We are committed to leveraging our international experience and engaging our partners to accelerate a path to therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics. This map illustrates Dr. Luis Montaner’s collaborative local and global network that is advancing research toward a cure for HIV-1.

Local and Global Research Collaborations in the Montaner Lab