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Sky High for Kids dedicates floor in new Advanced Research Center at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Multimillion dollar fundraising commitment to help propel progress in developmental neurobiology field

Memphis, Tennessee, Mar. 9, 2021

Long-time St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® supporter Sky High for Kids makes its mark in Memphis today as the first organization to add its name to the Advanced Research Center, the new state-of-the-art facility opening later this year on the St. Jude campus.

The Advanced Research Center builds on the St. Jude legacy of transformative innovations to understand and treat childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Created as an interactive and interdisciplinary environment to propel transformative research and collaboration, the eight-floor research facility will include labs focusing on developmental neurobiology, immunology, cell and molecular biology, gene editing, metabolomics, advanced microscopy, epigenetics and genomics. Two of the buildings’ floors are dedicated to future expansion and evolving technologies. The newly dedicated Sky High for Kids Research Floor is the future home of the Developmental Neurobiology Department.

“We have made important discoveries on brain development and disease thanks to support from Sky High for Kids,” said Michael A. Dyer, Ph.D., chair of the St. Jude Developmental Neurobiology Department. “Our researchers are some of the best in the world and have access to cutting-edge technologies that are second to none. Research in developmental neurobiology will allow us to improve survival and quality of life for children with catastrophic diseases.”

Sky High for Kids has raised $7.8 million for St. Jude since 2007 and will continue with its $20 million fundraising commitment over the next 12 years to support and further the mission of St. Jude: Finding cures. Saving children.®

Research in the Advanced Research Center has the potential for broad impact around the globe in several scientific areas beyond just pediatric cancer.

“Sky High for Kids’ incredible commitment to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will provide us the opportunity to dedicate an entire floor of lab space to developmental neurobiology, a field where progress is accelerating at an exhilarating pace due to advancements in research currently under way at St. Jude,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “The remarkable generosity shown by Sky High and all who support it ensures the pioneering work St. Jude is known for will continue well into the future and can impact the lives of children everywhere.” 

The Advanced Research Center will play a substantial role in new scientific discoveries as the new home to several shared resources, including a biorepository, advanced microscopy and gene editing. There, top scientists from around the world will have leading-edge resources and opportunities to pursue breakthroughs in a space that fosters teamwork and generates new ideas.

Advanced Research Center during construction

The Advanced Research Center, shown here during construction at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, will enable collaboration among scientists in several fields, including developmental neurobiology, which will be housed in the Sky High for Kids Research Floor.

In 2019, the National Institutes of Health recognized Lindsay Schwarz, Ph.D., an assistant member in the Developmental Neurobiology Department, with the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award for her work in understanding how a particular class of cells in the brain promotes behaviors and how disruption within neural circuits promotes neurological disease. The award, to be funded over five years, will further this highly specialized work in the new research facility.

"From the moment I stepped onto the St. Jude campus those many years ago, I knew I wanted to have a role in its work to save kids around the world,” Sky High CEO Brittany Hebert Franklin said. “It is an honor to be able to name the Department of Developmental Neurobiology floor, where pioneering research is already happening. To know that the research conducted here will outlive us all and save thousands of children is remarkable.”

As a research hospital, St. Jude offers more clinical trials for cancer than any other children’s hospital in the U.S., turning laboratory discoveries into lifesaving treatments that benefit patients everywhere. Progress at St. Jude extends worldwide because of the organization’s global collaborations and rapid sharing of results and knowledge.

Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won't stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

Media Contacts:

Jennifer Godwin
ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital