The Children’s Discovery Institute is the result of a shared vision to change the way pediatric research is conducted and an intense commitment to bring about dramatic results in pediatric care. 

Our history is remarkable. For more than a century, the partnership between St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University has consistently produced remarkable advances in pediatric medicine. Development of protocols for the treatment of childhood diabetes, unraveling genetic causes of congenital heart disease and nutritional disorders, and establishment of a premier pediatric lung transplant center are some of the results of this extraordinary partnership.

In 2000, the human genome was sequenced. The Genome Center at Washington University, one of three leading centers in the world, played a key role in this unprecedented achievement.

In 2004, the leaders of Children’s Hospital and Washington University began to envision the potential for a high-speed connection between the fundamental knowledge of the genetic code and the patient’s bedside by focusing the collaborative power of each institution to discover cures for many of the most serious disorders of childhood.

In 2005, a gift of $20 million for pediatric brain cancer research given by the McDonnell family established the first of the Institute’s four Centers of research.

In 2006, the Children's Discovery Institute became a reality. Since then, generous donors have invested millions of dollars in pediatric research projects, and the collaboration has expanded to include faculty from Washington University Schools of Arts & Sciences and Engineering & Applied Science as well as Medicine. The most recent partner is the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

Today, the Children’s Discovery Institute is the engine that drives the focus on pediatric research, promotes collaboration between clinicians and investigators, and leverages new intellectual resources into the effort through funding specific programs and projects.

This open and interactive structure is a unique model that has become an incubator for the innovative, interdisciplinary initiatives needed to answer the big questions in pediatric medicine.