While still an undergrad at Stanford University, Christy Jones co-founded her first tech company. Then, after 13 successful years in enterprise software, she began looking for her next project, one that she felt passionate about.
After watching friends experience the ups and downs of fertility treatment, she knew she’d found a calling. And so, in order to give women and families more options, she founded Extend Fertility in 2004. It was the first U.S. company to market egg freezing as a lifestyle choice.
“I realized that the science of egg freezing was at a pivotal point in time. So I started a company to help nurture that technology and bring it to market,” she says.
It’s that same interest in timely, game-changing technology that drew Jones to the Institute for Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM) at UW Medicine, where scientists are focused on using stem cell science to develop therapies and cures for a host of diseases.
“It’s intellectually stimulating, it’s uplifting — it’s like a whole bunch of start-ups!” says Jones about the work of ISCRM researchers.
For example, Charles Murry, M.D., Ph.D., ISCRM’s director and the William and Marilyn Conner Chair for the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, and his team are harnessing stem cells to regenerate heart muscle after a heart attack. Other researchers are pursuing illnesses such as kidney disease, cancer and hearing loss, to name a few.
“You have these amazing scientists who are the entrepreneurs determining the future of medicine,” says Jones, who is eager to see stem cell-based cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, another area of focus for ISCRM researchers
As an ISCRM donor, Jones joins a group of notable private funders who founded three of the four core resources at ISCRM. Gifts like theirs are the foundation for creating self-sustaining, entrepreneurial projects. And for creating a self-sustaining, entrepreneurial community. Because, as usual, Jones is thinking about the big picture.
“Companies that spin off from the work being done at ISCRM will continue to make Seattle’s economy vibrant,” says Jones.
A Word of Thanks
ISCRM’s core facilities, essential to our research and that of the larger community, were founded by Tom and Sue Ellison, Lynn and Mike Garvey and Quellos (now BlackRock). Our thanks to them, to Christy Jones, and to all of ISCRM’s donors and advocates.