Dr. Timothy M. Block, president of the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, Hepatitis B Foundation and Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, has announced the establishment of the Sunrise Educational Fund, an endowment to support the institute’s academic and experiential learning programs for high school and college students.
The Sunrise Fund was conceived by Dr. Nathaniel A. Brown, a 1966 graduate of Central Bucks High School, who has contributed $30,000 to get it started.
“Clearly Dr. Brown is passionate about encouraging our researchers of the future, and this is a wonderful initiative,” Dr. Block said. “The fact that Nat has placed his confidence in us to be stewards of this important work makes it all the more meaningful.”
Brown has 35 years of experience as a full-time academic infectious diseases physician UCLA and Cornell), and as an executive and chief medical officer with several pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, directing clinical testing of novel antiviral medicines for deadly diseases, including hepatitis B. He is a member of the Hepatitis B Foundation’s board of directors and Scientific and Medical Advisors Board. The foundation created the Blumberg Institute as its research arm 20 years ago.
The Blumberg Institute not only has numerous academic partnerships with universities in the region, it has a highly successful program for high school students in the Central Bucks School District that includes hands-on laboratory work with scientists at the PABC.
“Sunrise is a visual metaphor for what can happen in young brains when they are exposed to and excited by new experiences and new ideas,” Brown said. “The idea of a career in science can be somewhat intimidating for young people. They think they might want to be scientists, but they need to gain practical exposure beyond high school and college classes to gain a basic understanding of what “doing science” is about. Practical science exposure for interested students has been happening for some years at the Blumberg Institute and we want to expand and enhance the program.”
The Sunrise fund is targeted to helping young people explore potential scientific career pathways, through providing support for the Institute’s existing scientific education programs for regional high school students, Brown says. The fund also will also provide supplemental support for the Institute’s Research Fellows program, which offers substantive laboratory or scientific project experience for early career trainees.
Brown was raised in Doylestown, along with his sister, by his mother, Joan Rich Brown. She moved with her two children to Doylestown in 1961 to become the founding executive director of the local Family Service Association, which she led for 17 years and expanded into a countywide organization.