Together We Discover: Annual Giving helps Princeton recruit and support interdisciplinary faculty

May 10th, 2019 / Annual Giving

 
Every year, Princeton alumni from every decade, along with friends of the University, come together through Annual Giving to strengthen and expand Princeton’s mission of excellence. This year’s campaign features a new video that highlights how the University’s unique academic ecosystem cultivates a creative and collaborative faculty.

Olga Troyanskaya is a professor of computer science and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. “I’m a computer scientist who has an experimental wet-lab,” said Troyanskaya, who came to Princeton in 2003 after earning her Ph.D. at Stanford University. “This is very unusual—and at Princeton it’s completely natural.”

Troyanskaya and her team of computer scientists and biologists utilize sophisticated machine learning that analyzes molecular genetic interactions in order to develop precision-medicine treatments. Precision medicine is a medical model that proposes that physicians will be able to select the best treatment for a patient, based on a thorough understanding of the patient’s unique genetic makeup. Using algorithms and artificial intelligence, Troyanskaya can mine unprecedented volumes of data to predict how mutations in the genome are related to disease.

“We’ve really been able to do things that many other universities would make it impossible to do,” she said. “Here, we can ask the hardest questions that really require long-term answers for treating and diagnosing diseases that are as wide-ranging as autism, cancer, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s.”

Annual Giving is instrumental in supporting the recruitment of versatile faculty who tackle complex problems. “Alumni support is absolutely critical, especially for interdisciplinary science, the most challenging type of work to get supported through federal grants,” Troyanskaya added. “I believe that interdisciplinary thinking, research, and teaching are absolutely critical to the university of tomorrow.”

Princeton University’s 2017-18 Annual Giving campaign raised $69,554,597, with 55.7 percent of undergraduate alumni participating. Unrestricted gifts to Annual Giving go directly into the operating budget for the benefit of Princeton’s students and faculty. These flexible funds allow the University to seize new intellectual opportunities, respond to unexpected challenges, and support a pioneering financial aid program that makes a Princeton education possible for all admitted students. The 2018-19 Annual Giving campaign concludes June 30.