- Former Citigroup chairman Sanford Weill and his wife Joan have donated $185 million to fund a new neuroscience center at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).
- The Weill's donation is the biggest gift UCSF has ever received, and one of the largest ever dedicated to neuroscience. UCSF will help fund the construction of the Institute's planned 270,000-square-foot headquarters, along with creating a Innovation Fund for advancing development of treatments for neurological and psychiatric diseases.
- UCSF has become a magnet for philanthropists who are attracted to its prowess as a medical research institute and teaching facility. Over the past year, more than $500 million has been given to UCSF's neuroscience programs, according to the University.
The Weills have been personally touched by the devastating impact neurological diseases can have on patients and families. Mr. Weill's mother died of Alzheimer's and his father showed signs of depression, according to the New York Times.
"While advances have been made in cancer and cardiovascular diseases, scientists are only just beginning to gain traction with the brain, which is the most complicated part of the body and is prone to diseases that disproportionately affect the growing aging population," said Sanford Weill.
With the funding, UCSF will also offer financial support to PhD students in the Neuroscience Graduate Program, and help retain junior faculty. The new Institute will house research labs and patient clinics, bringing together UCSF's neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry departments together under one roof.
“The barriers between the many disciplines of the neurosciences are quite real, and they do impede progress,” said Stephen Hauser, the inaugural Weill Institute Director. “The soul of the new Weill Institute is in breaking down these boundaries.”
USCF was also recently named as one of six cancer centers to receive funding from internet billionaire Sean Parker's $250 million gift for immunotherapy work.