UCLA Neurology receives $250,000 to establish the Waxman Family Drive Award for Alzheimer’s Disease

Gift will benefit innovative research in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
Caregiver holding elderly patients hand at home
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The UCLA Department of Neurology has received a gift to facilitate the development of crucial diagnostic tools and treatment methods for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Brother and sister Mark Waxman and Dr. Leslie Waxman donated $250,000 to establish The Waxman Family Drive Award for Alzheimer’s Disease. Each year, early-career investigators will be invited to pitch their bold, innovative ideas for Alzheimer’s and dementia research to a review panel, including members of the Waxman family.

Trainees will present their projects in a symposium. Projects and trainees will be evaluated by a committee and up to two awards of $25,000 will be made each year.

Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia are among the most common forms of neurodegenerative disorders. In the United States, more than 6.5 million people are living with these conditions. By 2050, that number is expected to increase to 16 million.

After learning about the potential for such awards at other prominent research institutions, Mark and Leslie reached out to UCLA to begin a program in the Alzheimer’s and dementia space. A retired healthcare lawyer with extensive experience in academic medicine, Mark is keenly aware of the impact this type of philanthropy can have.

For Leslie, the gift is more personal. Her husband, Leo Stytle, passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2022. Mark and Leslie realize that progress toward a cure for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia will come from novel approaches, so they are thrilled to support up-and-coming researchers willing to take risks, test new theories, and blaze trails in the field.

They hope to inspire other philanthropists to provide crucial start-up funding — a catalyst for groundbreaking discovery.

“It gives Leslie and me great satisfaction to invest in the work of the next generation of neuroscientists who are pushing boundaries in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. We look forward to a day when other families won’t have to endure the pain of these difficult diagnoses, and we believe that such advances are possible at a world-class institution like UCLA,” said Mark Waxman.

“Our family is proud to take the lead on this exciting initiative,” added Leslie Waxman. “Mark and I encourage others to join our efforts to transform care in this vital area of medicine, as we are all likely to be touched by Alzheimer’s and dementia at some point in our lives.”