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Boston Children’s joins $220 million research effort on athletic performance

Boston Children's Hospital is joining the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance to research the biology behind achieving peak human performance.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Boston Children’s Hospital has joined the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation in a research collaboration launched last week to study the biology of peak human performance in athletes.

The Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance, founded by Brooklyn Nets co-owner Clara Wu Tsai, will work to establish a fundamental understanding of how physical performance works and pioneer technologies to enhance the ways people train and heal their bodies.

“Our goal is to optimize human health and potential for people worldwide by reducing suffering from a variety of conditions,” Wu Tsai said in a statement to The Boston Globe. “Success for the Alliance means that in the coming years, people worldwide have access to new treatments and therapies allowing them to thrive at every stage of life.”


Backed by a $220 million investment from the foundation, the alliance’s academic members span the country and will pursue various studies in biology and health.

Boston Children’s, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, will undertake a research program aiming to answer physiological questions vital to improving the health and performance of girls and women.

“For years we have extrapolated research performed in men to our female athletes,” said Kathryn Ackerman, director of the program at Boston Children’s. “I am confident that this new partnership will change female athlete sports science and women’s health globally.”

Other members include Stanford University, UC San Diego, the University of Kansas, the University of Oregon, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. These institutions will study topics such as restoring function to damaged tissues and optimizing the training and injury recovery process.

Innovation hubs at Boston Children’s and the universities are expected to turn their discoveries into practical guidelines to help strengthen peoples’ ability to care for their bodies. In an effort to make scientific information freely accessible, the alliance will share its findings via symposia, podcasts, and other multimedia platforms.


Angela Yang can be reached at