Indiana Biosciences Research Institute Issues its 2021 Annual Report, "Accelerating Biomedical Innovation"

Morning sun reflecting off IBRI headquarters

IBRI celebrates expanded and diversified scientific program, first year in 16 Tech

Indianapolis, Ind. - The Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI), a leading translational science institute, today announced the release of its print and digital 2021 Annual Report. The report theme is "Accelerating Biomedical Innovation," which highlights the institute's focus on establishing innovative technologies that accelerate molecular design and drug discovery.

“The IBRI made great strides last year,” said Alan Palkowitz, PhD, president and CEO of the IBRI. “We worked diligently to implement our updated strategy, expanded and diversified our scientific program, and celebrated our first full year of scientific and administrative operations in Innovation Building 1 within 16 Tech.”

The report features examples of how we are building and integrating new capabilities to enable our ambitious strategy that is focused on key longer-term objectives to:

  • Increase science and patient impact,
  • Achieve translational business outcomes,
  • Grow the biomedical community, and
  • Enhance financial sustainability.

We shine a spotlight on two of our assistant investigators – Li Zhang, MD, PhD, and Erica Cai, PhD. Dr. Zhang has successfully identified a lead antibody targeting a human type 1 diabetes antigen. She notes, “If we can prevent diabetes in humanized mice with this antigen, this suggests we can prevent diabetes in humans.” Cai is investigating a transcription factor that, if removed, could allow the beta cell to better resist an immune attack. Cai shared that she, “hopes that her work will lead to a new drug therapy that can halt type 1 diabetes progression.”

We also illuminate the work of D. Wade Clapp, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Clapp and his colleagues are collaborating with the IBRI to pursue detailed screening combinations, with the goal of identifying drugs or drug combinations to treat Neurofibromatosis type 2 that could immediately proceed to Phase I/II clinical trials. “The IBRI has tremendous chemistry expertise that opens us to novel compounds, drug combinations and chemical matter,” said Dr. Clapp.

Additionally, the report includes a conversation with Derek Small, founder and managing director at Luson Bioventures, about the new Chemistry Lab the IBRI is building. Small succinctly articulated his vision – and ours – for the lab, “I see innovators starting their early-stage companies in the lab and staying here. I envision the IBRI and those entrepreneurs using the lab recruiting the world’s brightest scientific talent to Indianapolis. And I anticipate collaborative research opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible happening here.

The online 2021 Annual Report can be accessed at, and a PDF version of the report can be downloaded from

About the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute

The Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) is an independent, nonprofit discovery science and applied research institute currently targeting diabetes, metabolic disease, poor nutrition and related health data science. Inspired by Indiana’s leading life sciences companies, research universities and philanthropic community, the IBRI is building a world-class organization of researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs to catalyze scientific discovery and its applications, resulting in improved health outcomes for Indiana patients and beyond. For more information about the IBRI, visit