Top: Dr. Joaquin Fuster. Photo: Courtesy of Elisabeth Fuster.. Bottom: Dr. Brendon Villegas during his PhD neuroscience studies at UCLA. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Brendon Villegas.
The Beneventures Foundation, Inc. has pledged $300,000 over three years to support the Center for Community Health in the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. This gift will fund education, training, research and cross-campus community engagement activities aimed at strengthening prevention of campus-based sexual violence and sexual assault.
Joan and Jerome Snyder, supporters of UCLA and the UCLA Stein Eye Institute for nearly 40 years, have made a $1 million pledge to establish an endowed chair in vision science, which will provide funding for teaching and research activities of an esteemed scientist and vision-science faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology. This is the Snyders’ third endowed chair at Stein Eye. They established the Jerome and Joan Snyder Chair in Ophthalmology in 2008 and the Joan and Jerome Snyder Chair in Cornea Diseases in 2013. Through these gifts, the Snyders’ commitment to UCLA supports three pillars of the mission of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA: research, education and clinical care.
Diane and David Steffy have made a contribution to the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA to establish the Stem Cell and Brain Aging Research Fund, under the joint direction of Drs. Owen Witte and S. Thomas Carmichael (FEL ’01). This gift supports an interdisciplinary team of scientists and clinicians who are experts in the fields of neuropathology, neurology and stem cell, vascular and developmental biology. This collaboration has initiated unprecedented studies to explore how aging affects the billions of cells found in the human brain and aims to yield a deeper understanding of Alzheimer’s disease progression. This innovative approach also could lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies to prevent and combat degeneration.
UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital has received a $100,000 grant from The Music Man Foundation to expand its music therapy program. The funds will enable the creation of two new music therapy fellowship positions to help serve the needs of pediatric patients in the hospital, as well as support research on the clinical benefits of music therapy for premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. Music therapy has been shown to benefit patients in a number of ways, from promoting the relaxation response to aiding in cognitive development.
Faculty Giving Back
Joaquin Fuster, MD, PhD, UCLA Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, pledged $300,000 from the Fuster Family Trust to establish an endowed lectureship in the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. To be named the Fuster Endowed Lectureship on Cognitive Neuroscience, the endowment will be used to invite national and international scholars in cognitive neuroscience to lecture at UCLA in order to advance research and education in this field. This is the second legacy gift to the university from Dr. Fuster, who has served UCLA for more than 60 years, and his wife Elisabeth. In 2003, they endowed the Joaquin M. Fuster Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, which currently is held by Dr. Susan Bookheimer.
Dr. Brendon Villegas (PhD ’17), a postdoctoral research scholar in the lab of Dr. Claudio Scafoglio at UCLA, has successfully participated in a number of reality shows, including Big Brother, where he met his wife Rachel. Dr. Villegas and his wife competed on The Amazing Race twice, placing third both times. The couple most recently competed on Fear Factor and were victorious once again. Dr. Villegas has donated the Fear Factor winnings of $50,000 to support the important work in Dr. Scafoglio’s lab, where Dr. Villegas helps to develop novel imaging agents for the early diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. For Dr. Villegas, who lost a friend to lung cancer, the work is personal. The lab’s research includes growing 3D lung tissue cultures outside of the body to characterize pre-malignancies and test treatments. This promising research has the potential to transform the way lung cancer is detected and treated and, ultimately, increase survival rates for this devastating disease.
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