A gift worth $185 million from Joan and Sanford I. Weill to the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) will allow the university to expand its neurosciences programs and facilities, advancing its research work into psychiatric, neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS).
The gift, the largest single donation in UCSF history, is transformational at a key moment in brain science discovery, researchers said.
“With modern technologies — big data, computers, imaging, cellular and molecular science, and engineering — we, for the first time ever, have an opportunity to understand [brain] diseases in a very clear way and to make substantial progress to prevent, to treat and even to repair damage for many of these disorders,” Stephen Hauser, MD, a neurologist and physician-scientist who will lead the new UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, said in a press release. “The opportunities for UCSF to continue to lead in neuroscience, and even more importantly, to pave the way for a major change in the trajectory of our understanding, is here for us today.”
The donation will benefit all UCSF neuroscience programs, from basic to graduate education, clinical research and patient care. It will also be used to build a 270,000-square-foot clinical and research building at Mission Bay that will serve as headquarters for the Weill Institute.
The new building, which will combine the Sandler Neurosciences Center, the Toni Rembe Rock Hall, and the planned psychiatry clinic, will make UCSF Mission Bay a leading research center with a particular focus on the brain.
“It’s been an incredible and exciting journey working with Joan and Sandy Weill in conceiving this new institute,” said Sam Hawgood, MBBS, UCSF’s chancellor. “They pushed us. They made us think bigger, bolder, out of the box. They saw that we had all of the parts and they pushed us to think how to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.”
According to the Weills, their goal with the contribution was to help improve people’s lives. “UCSF has emerged as one of the leading biomedical research universities in the world in recent decades,” said Sandy Weill, chairman of the executive council for UCSF Health. “We were inspired to make this gift because we recognized the potential of UCSF physicians and scientists to significantly advance our understanding of brain diseases and lay the groundwork for new therapies. So much remains to be done in this area, and we are thrilled to see what can be accomplished in the future.”
The Weill gift will support UCSF efforts to:
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