Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and was founded by the American aviation and film magnate Howard Hughes in 1953, after he sold the RKO film studio’s movie theater holdings in response to an antitrust case requiring studios and theaters to be owned by separate entities. Hughes had planned since his first will, drafted at age 19, to fund a medical institute in his name; he founded HHMI with the lofty goal of “understanding the genesis of life itself.” His own internist, Verne Mason, was appointed chairman of the medical advisory committee.

When Hughes faced a stiff battle with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), he countered with the unusual and unexpected move of signing over his stock in the Hughes ...

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