About The Jackson Laboratory


Meet our President and CEO, Dr. Edison Liu.

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JAX milestones

Highlights from the Laboratory's remarkable history of research accomplishments.
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The Jackson Laboratory is an independent nonprofit research institution headquartered in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, California. Its mission is to discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human disease, and to enable research and education for the global biomedical community.

  • JAX was founded in 1929.
  • JAX is a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center.
  • Three dozen research teams at JAX study the genetic basis of cancers, heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, glaucoma, diabetes and many other human diseases, as well as how genes impact development, reproduction and aging.
  • JAX employs more than 1,200 people in Maine and more than 100 in California, with more than 200 Ph.D.s, M.D.s and D.V.M.s.  
  • JAX’s operating budget for FY2012 is $212 million.
  • JAX received $56.8 million in NIH and other government grants and contracts for research in FY11.

Is The Jackson Laboratory a business?

The Jackson Laboratory is not a business. It is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization. It has no stockholders and pays no dividends. Any financial surpluses from its operations are invested in further research and educational programs to meet the Laboratory’s mission.

What has The Jackson Laboratory contributed to medical science?

The Jackson Laboratory has eight decades of experience in research and is deeply respected in the global biomedical community. 

Its major scientific discoveries include:

  • the revelation that cancer is a genetic disorder, not an infectious disease, with susceptibility passed on from parents to children (C.C. Little)
  • the first evidence that viruses can cause cancer in mammals (C.C. Little);
  • the first experimental bone marrow transplants that led to new treatments for blood and immunological diseases (Elizabeth Russell);
  • the first description of “pluripotent” cells – today known as stem cells – that can change into other specialized cells (Leroy Stevens);
  • assisted-reproduction techniques that are used in in vitro fertilization clinics (Larry Mobraaten, John Eppig, Michael Wiles and Robert Taft);
  • the discovery of a genetic driver for appetite that leads to diabetes and obesity (Doug Coleman); and
  • an in-depth understanding of the immune system’s major histocompatibility complex, making organ transplants possible. This work earned JAX scientist George Snell the Nobel Prize in 1980.
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