We exist to make profound
breakthroughs in human health,
leveraging the revolutionary
potential of systems biology.

Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) is a nonprofit biomedical research organization based in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

Photos of Institute for Systems Biology, 2016

The people of ISB are becoming the leading experts in the function and behavior of every organ in the human body. Today we are poised to track the progression of human life in all its stages, to map how diseases are created and how they progress in our bodies, to better predict, prevent or diminish the effect of the entire range of human illnesses, to better understand the role environmental factors play, and to assure a longer, healthier life for all of humankind. ISB is literally at the epicenter of creating a new future for human health.

ISB is neither a classical definition of an academic organization nor is it a biotechnology company. We are unique. Unlike in traditional academic departments, our faculty are cross-disciplinary and work collaboratively toward a common vision. This cross-disciplinary approach enables us to take on big, complex problems. While we are vision-driven, ISB is also deeply committed to sharing that knowledge with society: We participate in the formation of companies, and strategically partner with industry to transfer technologies, products and new concepts generated by our ambitious projects. We also transfer knowledge via advanced courses for postdocs and professionals; curriculum development for high schools; professional development for K-12 and college faculty; and influencing education policy at the state and national levels.

By the Numbers

200 full-time staff from 30 countries | 45 degree fields | 12 faculty members | 27 principal and senior research scientists & engineers |1600+ research publications since 2000 | 19 spinout companies | $445 million+ in grants & contracts revenue | $83 million+ in philanthropic contributions | 1000 K-12 science educators annually receive professional development & systems biology training


ISB was founded in 2000 by systems biologist Leroy Hood, immunologist Alan Aderem, and protein chemist Ruedi Aebersold. ISB was established on the belief that the conventional models for exploring and funding breakthrough science have not caught up with the real potential of what is possible today. ISB serves as the ultimate environment where scientific collaboration stretches across disciplines, where our researchers have the intellectual freedom to challenge the status quo, and where grand visions for breakthroughs in human health inspire a collective drive to achieve the seemingly impossible. Our core values ensure that we always keep our focus on the big ideas that eventually will have the biggest impact on human health. Since 2000, ISB has grown to more than 200 staffers, which includes 10 faculty members and laboratory groups. In 2016, ISB became an affiliate of Providence St. Joseph Health.

Learn more about the history of systems biology and systems medicine from ISB’s co-founder, Leroy Hood.


ISB is located in the South Lake Union neighborhood in Seattle. A Brookings Institution report (May 2014) described SLU as Seattle’s urban “Innovation District” which is defined as areas:

“where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators. …They are the ultimate mash up of entrepreneurs and education institutions, start-ups and schools, and mixed-use development and medical innovations, bike-sharing and bankable investments – all connected by transit, powered by clean energy, wired for digital technology, and fueled by caffeine.”

ISB occupies a building that is LEED Platinum certified. ISB’s neighbors include Amazon, UW Medicine, Fred Hutch, Northeastern University, Center for Infectious Disease Research, Microsoft, Novo Nordisk, Allen Institute for Brain Science, and many others.

Institute for Systems Biology
401 Terry Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109