Patron Of Science

Howard Hughes was once the richest man in the world.

Hughes died Canada Goose Parka more than a quarter century ago, but as Correspondent Lesley Stahl first reported last year, his vast fortune is still making a powerful impact on the world. How large is the endowment? Tom Cech, the institute’s president, says it’s $11 billion, making the Hughes Institute the second largest philanthropy in the country, behind Bill Gates’ foundation.

The institute’s mission: to unlock the secrets uk canada goose outlet of life. It funds hundreds of uk canada goose the best biologists and geneticists in America.

Some of its great discoveries include: the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis; muscular dystrophy; a non invasive test for colon cancer; the new drug that fights leukemia; breakthroughs in AIDS research; work that may lead to a cure for spinal cord injuries; and much more.

All of these discoveries were canada goose uk shop made by “Howard Hughes Investigators.” There are 330 in the United States. Canada Goose Online They’re the cream of the scientific crop and include seven Nobel Prize winners. Tom Cech won his own Nobel Prize for work on RNA.

How much does Howard Hughes spend a year funding all these projects? “It’s about a million dollars per investigator per year. About $450 million a year,” says Cech. “Who would have thought that the Howard Hughes fortune would end up supporting biomedical research?”

It’s very likely that Hughes didn’t mean for all of this to happen. And that’s where the science story gets juicy.

“He was a playboy, he was a world class pilot.

Hollywood was his playground, but Hughes came to fame as a record setting pilot, and it was his Hughes Aircraft Company that turned him into a billionaire. His most famous plane, the “Spruce Goose,” was a giant wooden seaplane that flew just canada goose once, with Hughes at the controls. Despite that flop, Hughes Aircraft still became one of America’s biggest defense contractors.

“The company buy canada goose jacket originally started to make airplanes and then it canada goose black friday sale maneuvered itself into guidance systems. So it was a very important element Canada Goose sale of the Air Force,” says Hack.

But the world’s richest man wasn’t your average government contractor canadagooseonlineshop . He was combative and he bullied Pentagon officials. senator who had the audacity to challenge him.

By 1953, the temperamental Hughes had begun to withdraw from public view. His own executives at Hughes Aircraft often couldn’t reach him, and he cut off contact with the Air Force.

The Air Force then delivered an ultimatum.

“It was at the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Secretary of the Air Force came and demanded to see Howard Hughes, who kept him waiting for an hour and a half,” says Hack. “The secretary of the Air Force came in and said, ‘You either put control cheap Canada Goose of Canada Goose Coats On Sale this company under somebody that I am going to tell you to hire, or we are removing every single contract from Hughes Aircraft.’ He canada goose coats gave him 90 days.”

What canada goose coats on sale happened next? In exactly 90 days, Hack says Hughes created the Howard Hughes Medical canada goose uk outlet Institute: “This was one wily move. By giving the new Institute 100 percent ownership of Hughes Aircraft, cheap canada goose uk Hughes got out from under the Air Force ultimatum and built a giant tax shelter for the company’s profits my website .”

“Because it was a medical institute, it was all tax free,” adds Hack. “It was a charity. Even though canada goose clearance they did no research. Plus, there were no personnel, and the only trustee was Howard Hughes.”

When the IRS challenged the institute, it did begin to fund some research. But for many years, as Hughes retreated further Canada Goose Jackets into canada goose store isolation and illness, more money went to him than to science.

Hughes died without a will in Canada Goose online 1976, and the Institute was mired in years of litigation. Finally, in 1984, a court appointed new trustees, and they promptly sold Hughes Aircraft to General Motors for $5 canada goose clearance sale billion. Suddenly, an institute created basically as a sham became the richest charity America had ever seen.

Hughes gives its investigators freedoms most scientists can only dream of. For instance, they’re free of the crushing paperwork a 30 page form, single spaced required to get money from the National Institutes of Health.

“The paperwork for a government grant is sort of like filing out your tax forms,” says Cech. “In contrast, we want to free up people to think about their science, not think about filling out forms.”

Hughes investigator Doug Melton, at Harvard University, is thinking about a cure for juvenile diabetes. He’s working with stem cells from human embryos.

“And I can think, as I do most every waking moment of the day, ‘How am I gonna get those cells to become insulin buy canada goose jacket cheap producing cells?’ And the Hughes makes that possible,” says Melton, who wouldn’t have gotten a federal grant at all canada goose factory sale for his research.

In 2001, President Bush imposed his stem cell ban, canadian goose jacket in which he tried to balance the objections of opponents of abortion against the wishes of scientists to work with collections of stem cells, canada goose uk black friday called lines.

“He drew this line at saying, ‘Well, if someone else has already created these stem lines, then it’s OK for you to use them, but don’t create any new ones,'” says Cech.

But critics say that’s morally Canada Goose Outlet ambiguous, and that the president is trying to have it both ways. Is Cech taking a swipe at the president’s policy?

“It’s either ethical or it’s not ethical. We decided that was not a place that we were comfortable,” says Cech. “And we don’t think it’s unethical. Therefore, we think that we have not just an opportunity to engage in this research, but perhaps a responsibility.”

Since the president’s ban applies only to researchers using federal grants, Hughes, as a private institution, is free to plow ahead.

Using leftover embryos from a Boston fertility clinic, Melton has, in the last year, created nearly a dozen entirely new stem cell lines.