Tartan-wrapped boxes, festive Fair Isle sweaters, cheerful holiday ties—these are all unmistakable holiday traditions at Brooks Brothers. One of our proudest traditions, though, is our partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in Memphis.

The St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign has been a shining holiday tradition at Brooks Brothers since 2005. Looking back over 11 successful years of this partnership, there are so many bright spots, all of which have been made possible through the generosity of our family of customers and associates. An annual holiday party at our Madison Avenue flagship in NYC, the Mini Golf Classic at our Rodeo Drive store in L.A., the grand opening of the Brooks Brothers Computational Biology Center—these celebratory moments remind us that all things are possible when we come together to fight childhood diseases.

However, despite these happy times, there remains an urgency to your donations this and every year. The donations collected online and in Brooks Brothers stores throughout the holiday season strike a serious blow to the most devastating pediatric diseases. In fact, Brooks Brothers has strengthened its commitment, pledging $20 million over 10 years. With new breakthroughs happening every day at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, this commitment facilitates vital research.

To find out how and why your contributions make an impact, we’re catching up with one of the people on the front lines—Jinghui Zhang, PhD, chair of the Department of Computational Biology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Among the topics we cover: the life-saving research that takes place at the Brooks Brothers Computational Biology Center and the importance of donating this holiday season. 

Brooks Brothers: How long have you been with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital?
Jinghui Zhang: 
I joined the St. Jude family in 2010.

BB: What happens at the Brooks Brothers Computational Biology Center? What is your involvement with the facility?
Jinghui: The Brooks Brothers Computational Biology Center is the hub for genomic research at St. Jude, where novel analytical methods are developed and expert analysis of genomic data is conducted. It is also a center for the development of new genomic assay technology such as single-cell sequencing. As chair of the department I have designed the facility to ensure that there is close integration of “dry” computational analysis with the “wet” bench research of the facility.

BB: What is the best part of your job?
Jinghui: The best part of my job is to solve a challenging analytical problem that will make a difference to St. Jude patients and children around the world.

BB: How has partnering with Brooks Brothers over the past 11 years impacted the hospital?
Jinghui: Computational biology applies mathematics and computer science to the study of genomics, systems biology, biological image analyses and structural chemical biology. The $20 million commitment made by Brooks Brothers allows the Brooks Brothers Computational Biology Center to build a state-of-the-art computing facility required to unlock the genetic code of childhood cancer. The center holds both laboratories and offices, allowing seamless integration of computational scientists with experimentalists. It is the home of our genome-sequencing laboratory so that we stay on the frontier of technological innovation. The funding plays a key role in allowing us to recruit talented scientists and develop the computing infrastructure required for analyzing the immense amount of data provided by the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital–Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project. The resulting findings have laid the foundation for developing novel approaches such as precision medicine for treating pediatric cancer.

BB: How do donations help in the fight against diseases?
Jinghui: Your donations provide the resources required for us to develop and apply the most innovative computational methods for analyzing the pediatric cancer genome. The resulting findings have become a valuable resource for the global pediatric cancer research community, as doctors now have a better understanding about the underlying cause for pediatric cancers. Because of your public donations, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters: saving kids.

BB: What do the holidays mean to you?
Jinghui: The holidays mark a time spent with friends and family—and a time of joy and happiness. The holidays also give us time to reflect on how we can help others and positively impact the world around us.

BB: What is on your holiday wish list?
Jinghui: I would like to get a nice luggage set for traveling.