W.M. Keck Foundation gives USC $110 million

Stephen J. Ryan said that some of the new Keck funds will increase the school's endowment and strengthen support for currently underfunded programs, particularly to provide educational support such as scholarships for medical students. The primary use of the Keck gift will be to support the school's Neurogenetic Initiative.

According to Ryan, the diseases that will be addressed by the Initiative include: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and psychiatric diseases such as manic depression, schizophrenia and addiction disorders.

"The Initiative will bring together scores of USC scientists, physicians and physician-scientists to work on common problems," Ryan said. "The Initiative's goals include the construction of a new $40 million, 125,000-square-foot neurogenetic research facility on the USC Health Sciences Campus, and the recruitment of approximately 30 faculty scientists in the next five years."

This initiative will also draw heavily from the faculty and scientists in the Department of Neurological Surgery, lead by Martin Weiss, holder of the Martin H. Weiss Chair in Neurosurgery. Further, it will draw from the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry, now under the leadership of interim chair George Simpson. A permanent chair, to be named, will lead faculty engaged in neuroscience research.

According to Ryan, the Neurogenetic Initiative will focus its efforts on bringing together basic and clinical neuroscientists to concentrate on questions underlying a range of disorders that affect individuals ? from infants to senior citizens.

"USC has long embraced the concept of interdisciplinary research," Ryan explained. "The USC/Norris is a leader in 'translational medicine,' the process of bringing laboratory research closer and more quickly to the beds of patients; and our Institute of Genetic Medicine includes a wide array of scientific and medical disciplines, from molecular biology to pediatrics."

The director of the Neurogenetic Initiative is Brian E

Contact: Brenda Maceo
323 442 2830
University of Southern California

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