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Originally published March 14, 2011 at 7:06 PM | Page modified March 15, 2011 at 7:03 AM

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Top immunologist, 42 researchers switching Seattle biotech companies

A top immunologist and 42 researchers are leaving the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) to join another biotechnology nonprofit, Seattle...

Seattle Times business reporter

A top immunologist and 42 researchers are leaving the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) to join another biotechnology nonprofit, Seattle BioMed.

Alan Aderem, who co-founded ISB and stepped down last fall as director, will take up the reins at Seattle BioMed in January, replacing Ken Stuart, who has headed the organization he founded since 1976. Stuart will remain as president emeritus and board member.

Aderem and the other researchers and staff will join Seattle BioMed this spring as part of an expansion plan funded by a $7 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Seattle BioMed said Aderem will bring a new approach to its infectious-disease research and integrate his expertise in systems biology to speed the pace of new vaccines and drugs to fight HIV, malaria and other diseases.

ISB, which hired genetics pioneer Joseph Nadeau from Case Western Reserve University as its director in September, said Nadeau and other new faculty members are bringing in roughly the same number of people who are leaving to join Seattle BioMed.

ISB is also moving across the street from Seattle BioMed in South Lake Union, and the two will continue to collaborate. With the new headquarters of Amazon.com nearby, the region will see a convergence of biotech research, global health and information technology.

John Aitchison, former associate director of ISB and a systems biology pioneer, will join Seattle BioMed as director of integrative biology. He will remain at ISB part time to develop collaborative research projects.

Seattle BioMed has about 325 employees and ISB has about 300.

ISB President Leroy Hood, protein chemist Ruedi Aebersold and Aderem founded the institute in 2000 with a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to biology.

Kristi Heim: 206-464-2718 or kheim@seattletimes.com

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