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SEATTLE – (Jan. 7, 2016) – Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI), a world renowned nonprofit medical institute in autoimmune and immune system diseases, has appointed Jane Buckner, MD, as president, effective Jan. 1.

Dr. Buckner, an internationally known researcher in autoimmune diseases, succeeds Gerald Nepom, MD, PhD, who served as director for 30 years and stepped down from the position. Dr. Nepom continues his role leading the Immune Tolerance Network and remains a faculty member of BRI.

Dr. Buckner joined BRI in 1999 and has served as associate director since 2012. She brings an interdisciplinary approach – genetics, immunology and clinical medicine – to understanding the causes and potential cures of autoimmune diseases. Her areas of specialty include type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and relapsing polychondritis.

“Dr. Buckner is a trusted colleague and a highly respected translational research investigator who has made significant contributions to the understanding of human autoimmune diseases,” said Gary S. Kaplan, MD, chairman and CEO, Virginia Mason Health System. “She is a very strong leader who will guide BRI’s talented team, build on its world-class heritage and broaden its impact.”

Dr. Buckner is also director of the BRI Translational Research Program, a principal investigator at BRI, rheumatologist at Virginia Mason Medical Center and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington. She serves as chair of the Cooperative Study Group for Autoimmune Disease Prevention of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Buckner is also director of the Seattle Centers of Excellence for the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies.

“I am very excited to begin my new role as president at BRI, and look forward to working closely with the board, leadership team, partners and stakeholders to continue to push the boundaries of autoimmune research,” Dr. Buckner said. “One of the things that is special about BRI is our collaborative environment. We are a team, and I am proud to lead the team that will take our autoimmune research to new heights of discovery.”

As president, Dr. Buckner is responsible for developing and implementing scientific strategic plans, as well as collaborating with industry and additional research organizations. She will also lead BRI initiatives in new programs for biomarkers, immune system profiling, cross-disease applications of therapies and personalization of medicine.  

Dr. Buckner received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Carleton College, magna cum laude. She attended Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and after receiving her medical degree, she completed residency training in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Buckner went on to complete a fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Washington. As a fellow she was honored with the American College of Rheumatology’s Senior Rheumatology Scholar Award. After completing her medical training, Dr. Buckner continued her research training as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Nepom at BRI and in 1999 became an investigator at the Institute. She also received the American College of Rheumatology Arthritis Investigator Award in 1999.

About Virginia Mason Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs approximately 6,000 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 480 physicians; regional medical centers throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Using the Virginia Mason Production System management methodology, Virginia Mason is an international leader in applying lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste, lower cost, and improve quality and patient safety. Virginia Mason website:

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Media Contact: Gale Robinette Virginia Mason Media Relations (206) 341-1509

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