The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has committed $4 million to be split equally between the UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases and the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center. The foundation pledged $2 million to further the work of Dr. Charalabos “Harry” Pothoulakis, director for basic research in the UCLA Center for
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Eli and Edythe Broad Chair in Medicine in the UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases. Dr. Pothoulakis and his team conduct research aimed at identifying the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The gift will advance current investigations, which include revealing how neuropeptides and hormones contribute to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and the roles of obesity and fat tissue in their development. In addition, it will support Dr. Pothoulakis’s collaboration with Dr. Dimitrios Iliopoulos, director of the UCLA Center for Systems Biomedicine, and his group to explore potentially clinically viable methods that they hope will revolutionize the delivery of novel drugs in IBD patients.
The Broads also gave $2 million to support the highest priorities of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center, including the center’s Innovation Award Program. Under the direction of Dr. Owen Witte, the Innovation Award Program provides valuable resources that help accelerate the translation of basic stem-cell research to patient therapies. To date, the Innovation Award Program has funded more than $5 million in research that includes the areas of neurodegenerative disease, cardiac disease, cancer and genetic blood diseases. This continued gift reflects Mr. and Mrs. Broad’s ongoing commitment to the stem-cell-research program at UCLA and expands UCLA’s ability to develop and test new patient-specific cell-based therapies through UCLA Cellular Therapeutics.
The Beckman Coulter Foundation has renewed a grant of $100,000 to benefit the UCLA Department of Urology. Specifically, funds will support Dr. Leonard Marks (RES ’73, ’78) and his targeted-biopsy and focal-therapy program. According to Dr. G. Russell Bell, president of the foundation, its board members visited UCLA and were impressed with the work of Dr. Marks and his team. Following the visit, the foundation’s board members began directing funds to the program. To date, the foundation has donated $417,000 to UCLA’s urology programs.
The Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation (JCCF) has received a bequest of $570,000 from longtime supporter Barbara Grant through the Barbara B. Grant Trust. This unrestricted planned gift advances the JCCF’s mission to support the highest-priority needs of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Norman Lapin and Cheryl Williams are helping move ataxia research forward through their generous gift in support of Dr. Susan Perlman’s work. Photo: Courtesy of Norman Lapin
Cheryl Williams and Norman Lapin made a multiyear gift of $100,000 to support the research work of Dr. Susan Perlman (RES ’79, FEL ’80), professor of neurology and an expert on ataxia. Ataxia, a neurological condition, causes dysfunction of the parts of the nervous system that coordinate movement, including the cerebellum, vestibular system and sensory-system inputs. The UCLA Ataxia Center, under the direction of Dr. Perlman, has grown to become one of the largest ataxia clinics in the United States. The clinical investigations led by Dr. Perlman specifically aim to evaluate treatments that have the potential to reduce nerve-cell damage and slow the progression of the disease.
The Wilbur May Foundation pledged $1 million to establish the Wilbur D. May Endowed Fellowship at UCLA’s Stein Eye Institute. This gift, which will support the training of fellows at Stein Eye, is the second fellowship the foundation has generously provided to support the advanced study of and research in ophthalmology and vision science. The Wilbur May Foundation and the May family are staunch supporters of UCLA, and in 1998, they established the David May II Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology to honor Mr. May’s association with the Stein Eye Institute. David May was one of the original trustees of the Institute.
The gift from the late Paula Kent Meehan to establish Paula’s PetPal Place will enable patients to visit with their pets in a reserved space outside Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. Photo: Erin Rice
Thanks to the generosity of the late Paula Kent Meehan, hospital stays will be brighter for patients through her $500,000 gift to establish Paula’s PetPal Place within the UCLA People-Animal Connection (PAC) Program. The new service will allow patients who are hospitalized for extended periods of time to reunite with their own family pets in a specially designated exterior space at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. PAC recognizes the powerful bond between patients and their personal pets, particularly at a vulnerable time when a connection to normalcy promotes healing. Bringing patients together with their own pets is an integral part of their mental and emotional well-being. The UCLA PAC Program is one of the most-comprehensive animal-assisted therapy and activity programs in the nation. Since its inception in 1994, PAC teams have recorded more than 200,000 inpatient visits, as well as thousands of visits with families and guests at UCLA medical centers and community events. This gift also will provide vital support for the annual operating budget of the PAC program.
The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA has received a $215,000 gift from the estate of alumnus Dr. James A. Musich (MD ’81, RES ’84). In recognition of his dedication to training the next generations of physicians, the gift will be used to create a scholarship for medical students, as well as support education and travel activities for residents in the Department of Anesthesiology.
Continuing its commitment to the UCLA AIDS Institute, the James B. Pendleton Charitable Trust has made a new contribution of $104,672 to enable the purchase of a Digital Drop PCR machine, which allows the highly sensitive and reliable detection of HIV in extremely small amounts of liquid. Such equipment is critical to advancing the Institute’s HIV-cure research.
Diane and Dave Steffy are helping advance stem-cell research through their generous contribution. Photo: Courtesy of Dave and Diane Steffy
Dave and Diane Steffy have given UCLA $1.3 million to advance innovative stem-cell research in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) conducted by Dr. Brigitte Gomperts. A member of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center with faculty appointments in the UCLA Division of Pulmonary Medicine and the UCLA Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Dr. Gomperts is developing a novel disease model of IPF in order to understand how it progresses. She also is introducing new drug candidates in an effort to observe the impact these compounds have on the scarring of the lung. In addition to supporting the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center, Mr. and Mrs. Steffy are generous donors to UCLA’s Division of Pulmonary Medicine in the hope that their philanthropy will lead to ongoing collaborations and partnerships resulting in a more-effective treatment for IPF.