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A Gift to Accelerate Stem-Cell Research / In Memoriam

A Gift to Accelerate Stem-Cell Research

A $20-MILLION GIFT from The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation will advance adult and embryonic stem-cell research at UCLA. The funds will go to purchase specialized high-tech laboratory equipment and support faculty recruitment through research grants and endowed professorships.

In recognition of the gift, the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine at UCLA has been renamed the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. The center is at the epicenter of stem-cell research in California where biologists, chemists, engineers, geneticists and other scientists collaborate to develop new and more effective treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, metabolic disorders and other medical conditions.

The gift from Eli and Edythe Broad – philanthropists who, over the past five years, have given $265 million to scientific and medical research – will enable UCLA to continue its leadership in cutting-edge, multidisciplinary scientific and medical research in this new frontier that holds enormous promise for regenerative medicine. “We have invested $265 million in genomics and stem-cell research because we believe that our investment has the potential to yield the most-valuable return possible: to improve the human condition,” says Eli Broad.

Dr. Owen Witte, professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, leads the center, which was launched in 2005 with a $20-million commitment over five years from the university. The center has recruited some of the country’s top scientists in the field – from renowned institutions such as Harvard, MIT and Johns Hopkins – to fill six of the 12 new faculty positions.

“This is huge in many senses of the word,” Dr. Witte says. “In addition to the amount of money being quite wonderful, it’s flexible money to spend on what we think are the most important things when we need them.” The goal, Dr. Witte says, is “to accelerate the pace and make things happen more quickly. This gift will be used to expedite our research mission in many ways … [and] it will support the most innovative approaches to developing new kinds of therapies.”

Assistant Professor Hanna Mikkola shows Eli Broad and dignitaries the laboratory where she and her team work with stem cells.

Following a press conference, announcing the gift, Assistant Professor Hanna Mikkola shows Eli Broad (right) and dignitaries, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the laboratory where she and her team work with stem cells.

To learn more about the Broad Center, go to http://streaming.uclahealth.org/Broad-Center

Photography courtesy of Reed Hutchinson

In Memoriam

DR. MITCHEL D. COVEL, 1917-2007

In Memoriam, Dr. Mitchel Covel 1917-2007Dr. Mitchel D. Covel, associate dean of development and community relations at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, died September 21, 2007, of natural causes. He was 90 years old. A gifted physician, educator and mentor, Dr. Covel was also a philanthropic leader. In 1998, the Susan G. Covel and Mitchell D. Covel, M.D., Commons – a cornerstone of UCLA’s Sunset Village student-housing complex – was dedicated in tribute to the generosity of Dr. Covel and his wife.

In 1974, Dr. Covel co-founded The Aesculapians, the medical school’s premier support organization. For two decades, he led the organization toward raising more than $18 million in unrestricted funding. He also co-founded the UCLA Medical Alumni Association. Dr. Covel co-chaired Campaign UCLA, the university’s highly successful fund-raising campaign, as well as chaired The UCLA Foundation and its Board of Governors. In 1990, he joined The UCLA Foundation Board of Trustees. Dr. and Mrs. Covel were enthusiastic philanthropists who not only supported the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, but also made major gifts to the College of Letters and Science, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the School of the Arts and Architecture, where an endowed chair in music was established in their name.

In 1934, Dr. Covel enrolled as an undergraduate at UCLA. He earned his M.D. degree at UC San Francisco, and was decorated for his courageous service as a battalion surgeon in World War II. After returning to Southern California, he established a private practice in internal medicine and cardiology, and he joined the clinical faculty of UCLA’s medical school in 1960. Dr. Covel is survived by his wife, Susan, and by two children, David Giler and Kendall Giler-Bradshaw.

Robert H. Ahmanson, a trustee of the Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA alum (’49) and president of The Ahmanson Foundation, died September 1, 2007, at his home in Los Angeles. He was 80 years old. Ahmanson is survived by his wife, Kathleen, two sons, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

Sally Bennett, who helped to launch The Aesculapians and was a recipient of its Service Award in 1996, died in June 2007. She and her husband, Paul S. Bennett, were active with the Ahmanson/UCLA Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center, digestive diseases, urology, Center on Aging, as well as athletics and UCLA’s major campaigns.

Martin S. Blinder, who, with his wife, Janet, founded the Blinder Research Foundation for Crohn’s Disease, died March 16, 2007. He is survived by his wife, daughter and two sons.

Walter Oppenheimer, a dedicated supporter of UCLA Medical Sciences and UCLA School of Public Health, died August 1, 2007. He was 92 years old. He and his late wife, Helga, endowed the Helga and Walter Oppenheimer Chair of Musculoskeletal Oncology at UCLA, currently held by Dr. Jeffrey J. Eckardt.

Nathan Shapell, a major donor to UCLA who pledged $1 million to support the UCLA Neuro Repair and Rehabilitation Program in the Department of Neurology, died March 11, 2007. He was 85 years old. He is survived by a daughter, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Caroline W. Singleton died June 10, 2007, at her home in Los Angeles. She was 87 years old. To honor the memory of her late husband, Henry E. Singleton, who founded Teledyne, she and her family established the Henry E. Singleton Neuro-Diagnostic and Treatment Center in the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She is survived by five children and four grandchildren.

Photography courtesy of Jilly Wendell/the UCLA Foundation


The Annenberg Foundation has made a $10-million gift to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The Wallis Annenberg Concourse, named in recognition of this valued contribution, will be the main concourse through the hospital’s fi rst floor and lobbies. Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation have provided this vital support to augment government funding and help enable UCLA to create a medical center that will be the site of better medical treatments, discoveries of cures, new preventive approaches, and exceptional education and training programs – all of which will ultimately save lives and improve quality of life.

Lynn and Douglas Brengel are long-time friends of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the UCLA Kidney Transplant Program. Their gift of $250,000 is to be used by Dr. Gabriel Danovitch to support the fellowship program.

A $1-million donation from William E. (Chip) Connor and Family was received by the newly established University of California Foundation Limited, a qualified charitable organization in Hong Kong. The gift will create an endowed chair, the William E. Connor Chair in Cardiothoracic Transplantation. It will provide leadership for ongoing surgical research in heart and lung transplantation for adult and pediatric patients with end-stage heart and lung diseases, as well as research to define the mechanisms of the body’s immune responses to transplanted organs.

A $1-million pledge was received by the Department of Neurosurgery from Evelyn A. Freed to help advance the research of Division Chief Dr. Neil Martin. Mrs. Freed’s father started the Wilden Pump & Engineering Co. with a pump he invented in the 1950s. After her father’s passing, she ran Wilden before selling it to a corporation that took it global. Says Mrs. Freed, “My goal ... is to help people all over the world.”

In January 2007, Kenneth Jonsson established the Diana Gordon Jonsson Directors Endowment Fund, in memory of his late wife, with a $1-million gift to the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation. It will underwrite the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center’s annual donor-recognition dinner and provide the Diana Gordon Jonsson Award for Clinical Excellence and Diana Gordon Jonsson Award for Hope and Inspiration.

Dr. Hooshang Kangarloo, UCLA professor emeritus of radiology, pediatrics and bioengineering, contributed $500,000 to establish the Taslimi-Kangarloo Endowment. It will support and help advance educational and research programs in medical and imaging informatics.

Leslie and Martin Landis have established the Shlomo Raz, M.D., Chair in Urology, a term chair with five-year appointments. They made this gift in tribute to Dr. Raz, current chief of the Division of Female Urology, Reconstructive Surgery and Urodynamics. Their contribution serves as a challenge gift for the Department of Urology to secure matching funds in order to convert the chair to a permanentappointment chair.

An interest in memory loss and a genuine concern for others inspired Jacqueline and James McMahan to make a $250,000 gift to the Memory and Aging Research Center, led by Dr. Gary Small, the Parlow- Solomon Professor on Aging. Their support will be used to help investigators study the effects of curcumin on cognitive function and the accumulation of amyloid brain plaques in people with mild cognitive impairment.

In May, the MSST Foundation made two major gifts: a five-year pledge of $500,000 for research on comorbidity of bipolar disorder and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and a three-year pledge of $250,000 to the Mindful Awareness Research Center in the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

The Department of Urology is grateful for the Jean Perkins Foundation’s recent support. It was instrumental in setting up Dr. Isla Garraway, a prostate-cancer researcher and new faculty member, in an independent laboratory. Jamie Carroll, president of the foundation, says that the purpose of this gift is consistent with the organization’s interest in helping individuals gain autonomy and become selfsufficient, which ultimately benefits the broader community.

Guitiara and William L. Pierpoint made a gift of $1 million to endow the Guitiara Pierpoint Chair in Interstitial Pulmonary Fibrosis to support a faculty member in the UCLA Interstitial Lung Disease Program. It is the first chair established in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine, and Hospitalists, led by Dr. Steven Dubinett.

Drs. Daljit S. and Elaine Sarkaria have pledged $15 million to establish the Daljit S. and Elaine Sarkaria Clinical Research and Biomarkers Center at UCLA. The center’s mission is to improve the overall health of the community. Funds will be used to renovate space, build a biomarkers intake laboratory and support novel research activities and laboratory services.

In 2007, Shirley and Ralph Shapiro established four endowed chairs at UCLA, including two within the Medical Sciences. Honoring Peter Shapiro’s dedication to improving treatments for individuals suffering with cerebral palsy, the Peter William Shapiro Chair in Cerebral Palsy was created at the UCLA/Orthopaedic Hospital Center for Cerebral Palsy. It will support a preeminent individual who will provide leadership in innovative research to develop and implement better treatments and techniques for cerebral palsy patients. In addition, the Shapiro Family Chair in Child Development Studies and Cerebral Palsy, in the Department of Pediatrics, will be awarded to a renowned pediatric clinician-scientist dedicated to research, education and service aimed at improving the outcomes for children with developmental and behavioral problems.

A $750,000 commitment has been received from The Skirball Foundation for the Division of Head and Neck Surgery to expand the Cochlear Implant Program in the Victor Goodhill Ear Center to benefit more indigent pediatric patients who are hearing impaired. This gift was made in memory of Dr. Victor Goodhill, a UCLA otologist, and Jack H. Skirball, his lifelong friend. In recognition of the Foundation’s generosity, UCLA is pleased to name the Jack H. Skirball UCLA Cochlear Physiology Laboratory and to prominently display his portrait in the Head and Neck Clinic.

Joan and Jerome Snyder, supporters of the Jules Stein Eye Institute and UCLA for more than 20 years, have made a generous $1-million pledge to establish the Jerome and Joan Snyder Chair in Ophthalmology. This endowment will support the activities of a distinguished faculty member who directs the Ophthalmology Residency Program.

A $1-million gift to the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation has established The V Foundation–Gil Nickel Fellowship in Melanoma Research, honoring the late proprietor of Napa Valley’s Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel and Dolce wineries, who died from melanoma in 2003. This fellowship will enable the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center to recruit and train a new generation of researchers led by Dr. Antoni Ribas. The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator.

Carol and Joe Weller donated $315,000 to the UCLA Kidney Transplant Program to support its Fellowship Program. The funds are to be used under the direction of Dr. Gabriel Danovitch, program director. This gift was their first to UCLA.


Taste for a Cure was held June 16, 2007, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and raised more than $840,000 for the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Jay Sures, a partner and board member at United Talent Agency, received the Gil Nickel Humanitarian Award for his commitment to philanthropy, h8th Annual Mattel Party on the Pier, September 23, 2007umanitarian efforts and community involvement. Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO and director of DreamWorks Animation SKG, and Caryn and Jeff Zucker, president and CEO of NBC Universal, served as co-chairs.

A sold-out crowd of 1,400 attended the 8th Annual Mattel Party on the Pier! September 23, 2007. The event raised nearly $675,000 for Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. Liz Greenspan, a member of the hospital’s board of directors and Today’s and Tomorrow’s Children Fund and chair of the event’s planning committee, was this year’s honoree.

The Department of Neurosurgery’s Visionary Ball was held October 4, 2007, at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons hotel, co-chaired by Robert Harper and Edie Baskin Bronson. Receiving Visionary Awards were Peter Morton, co-creator of the Hard Rock Cafés, and Dr. Michael Phelps, for his innovation in the fields of science and medicine, particularly as inventor of the PET scan. In addition, actor Tim Allen was the recipient of the ball’s Rodney Respect Award created in honor of Rodney Dangerfield’s comedic legacy.

Photography courtesy of Lauren Forsythe


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