Dr. Edison Liu

Photo by Tara Rice

Dr. Edison Liu, President and CEO of the Jackson Laboratory

By Paul Koenig

The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), a biomedical research institution in Bar Harbor, focuses on finding genomic solutions to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, addiction, diabetes, and more. Last year, with the coronavirus spreading across Maine and the world, the institution created a COVID-19 testing program that ultimately performed 1.5 million tests for its employees and the citizens of Maine and Connecticut, where JAX also has a campus. Last year it also launched an in-vitro fertilization program to rapidly produce a mouse colony for COVID-19 research, including for vaccine development. “Leading JAX through the gauntlet of the COVID-19 pandemic has been both my greatest concern but also produced among some of my proudest moments,” says Dr. Edison Liu, president and CEO of the institution, which employs more than 1,700 people in Maine and generated an estimated $630 million in economic activity in 2020, despite the economic downturn. During the pandemic, the institution led by Liu since 2012 reorganized its finances to not only avoid any layoffs, but to maintain merit wage increases. Its researchers contributed significantly to the scientific understanding of SARS-CoV-2 virus, including of why people have such varied responses to being infected. “While we are not over the pandemic,” says Liu, “the end is in sight, and JAX is returning stronger than ever.”

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