Skip to main content

History & Mission

History & Mission

The Stowers Institute is a place where scientists can openly pursue and discover the secrets of life. Thanks to the vision of our founders and our unique funding model, we can transform science, allowing the opportunity to expand and accelerate our understanding of human health and disease.

Picture of the exterior of The Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, MO siting behind the Kauffman Memorial Foundation pond.

Our Mission & Values

The Institute’s mission is to make a significant contribution to humanity through medical research by expanding our understanding of the secrets of life and by improving life's quality through innovative approaches to the causes, treatment, and prevention of diseases.

At the Stowers Institute we value teamwork, collaboration, and creativity. Our science reflects the contributions of a wide array of individuals, technologies, and approaches that together produce innovative and impactful research.

Our History

The Stowers Institute for Medical Research was born from the vision of our founders, James E. Stowers, Jr., and his wife Virginia, who aspired to provide an environment of extraordinary scientific research.

Jim trained as a physician before launching and steadfastly nurturing American Century Investments into a highly successful, global asset management firm. Virginia had a career as a registered nurse. So, the couple had a profound understanding of the role that foundational biomedical research plays in generating new therapies and saving lives.

But it was their personal experiences with cancer that solidified their decision in 1994 to dedicate their personal fortune toward creating one of the world’s most influential centers for foundational research.

Over the next decade, our founders endowed the Institute with gifts totaling over $2 billion, and established a funding model whereby the science is funded through the dividends from American Century Investments, placing these visionary philanthropists in the top ranks of the world’s most generous givers.

Today, more than two decades later, their vision has become a remarkable reality. And with the same pioneering spirit of our founders, Stowers scientists are catalysts for discoveries that are transforming our understanding of human health and disease.

Jim and Virginia Stowers, founders of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City

Quick Facts

  • 20

    Principal Investigators

  • 16

    Technology Centers

  • 150

    Ongoing research projects

  • 10

    Acre campus

  • 60

    Predoctoral Researchers

  • 60

    Postdoctoral Researchers

  • 4

    Research Training Programs

  • 3

    National Academy of Sciences Members

  • 4

    American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellows

  • 4

    American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows

  • $1.8B

    Spent on research to date

  • 500

    Researchers and support staff

Get to know our Founders

Portrait of Jim Stowers

Jim Stowers

Leaving an enduring legacy

From medical school to mutual funds to world-class science, Jim Stowers led a remarkable life.

Read more
Virginia Stowers headshot

Virginia Stowers

Dedicated to a life of service

Virginia’s determination for the Institute to succeed was drawn from her family’s battles with cancer. She envisioned the Institute as one of the most innovative and effective research organizations in the world.

Read more

Affiliated Organizations

Jim Stowers Jr. founded American Century Investments in 1958 to help people improve their financial position. The small firm he started has grown into a leading, global asset management firm, serving financial intermediaries, institutions, and individuals.

In an unparalleled act of generosity and with their personal fortune, Jim and his wife, Virginia, founded and endowed the Stowers Institute for Medical Research and BioMed Valley Discoveries.

Jim and Virginia envisioned that the Institute would give rise to new insights into the processes underlying health and disease. To translate foundational research findings into potential cures, they established BioMed Valley Discoveries, a clinical state biotechnology company focused on addressing unmet patient needs across a wide spectrum of diseases.

Together, these organizations aspire to fulfill our founders’ vision of connecting health and wealth for the good of all.

History and mission chart

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Stowers members celebrating their heritage at a DEI event.

Our Vision

We aim to make a significant contribution to humanity through medical research by pursuing world-class science and innovation. We believe the best way to achieve this is by valuing and celebrating a diverse mix of minds and talents.

We intensely focus on creating an environment where everyone, from any background, can do their best work. We are committed to building a collaborative community that is diverse by nature, equitable by choice, and inclusive by action because “The best is yet to be.” - Jim Stowers.

Newsletter & Alerts