First Lady Visits Santangelo Lab

Thank you, Director Wegrzyn. We are grateful for all you are doing as the first director of ARPA-H.

This is a very special day for Emory.

We are in the presence of a leader, the First Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden, who shows up time and again for the people of our nation. She leads by doing—by taking action. No problem is too big to fix. No joy is too small to celebrate. And she has traveled across the country with a message of hope while listening closely to the needs of every person she meets.

Dr. Biden, on behalf of everyone at Emory, welcome and thank you for your tremendous service to our nation.

Having the very first ARPA-H project is a huge honor for Emory University. It is a reflection of how we do things here.

At Emory, it isn’t enough to simply accomplish something great, to reach a goal, or earn recognition. We measure our success through lives changed and lives saved.

When it comes to cancer, it’s all hands on deck. Faculty across departments, research centers, and our hospitals and clinics are applying their unique expertise—from the fundamentals of biology and biomedical engineering to team-based care for patients, and everything in between—to invent life-changing treatments.

And as we’ve seen today, Dr. Philip Santangelo and his extraordinary research team are developing new biomedical technologies that have the potential to transform the way the human body fights cancer and other diseases by strengthening the patient’s immune system to attack their specific cancer.

This is nothing short of revolutionary, and with this funding from ARPA-H and its mission to not only develop cutting-edge cures and treatments but also to speed up the process of making these breakthroughs available to patients from the lab to the bedside, we are going to save lives.

Earlier, we toured the Santangelo Lab, and it was an honor to have Dr. Biden meet the researchers, see science in action, and try out some of the amazing technology.

It is clear that Dr. Biden is deeply committed to this work. She shares the same drive that we do at Emory, and when it comes to research, the same measure of success—lives changed, and lives saved.

And when we work together—universities and the federal government—nothing is impossible.

Research universities like Emory are the engines of innovation—spurring technological progress and economic growth, improving the health of Americans, and protecting national security.

With federal investment, we are able to think bigger and reach higher, attracting top faculty to our campuses here in Georgia. And that creates a domino effect: world-class faculty make game-changing discoveries, and then world-class students want to earn their degrees here. And at the same time, we create opportunities for Georgians, supporting 100,000 jobs statewide.

And the research conducted by Emory and our partners over decades has benefitted families and communities across the nation and around the world. That includes pharmaceutical breakthroughs in the treatment of HIV/AIDS to our landmark cancer center—the Winship Cancer Institute—and Emory Healthcare, which treats nearly 900,000 patients each year in Georgia.

And when we supercharge our efforts with this project from ARPA-H there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

A few minutes ago, Dr. Biden talked about the Cancer Moonshot. Of course, its name reaches back to the 1960s, when the United States sent the first astronauts to the Moon. That notion of reaching for a goal so enormous, so unattainable—and then, somehow, making it a reality—reveals the potential that has always lived within this nation. When we work together with ambition and heart there’s no stopping us. And that’s the spirit and commitment we need now to power this next moonshot, the one that the First Lady and President Biden have poured so much into: to end cancer as we know it. And we are going to make it happen right here at Emory.

As we close, I just want to say thank you Dr. Biden and Director Wegrzyn for your trust in Emory and for working so hard to bring treatments and cures to the American people. You are changing lives, you are saving lives, and we are grateful.

Thank you so much.