University of California
675 Nelson Rising Lane, 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
University of California
Neurosciences Initiative Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. The new building and the Neurosciences Initiative are inspired by a common vision. What is it?
The vision: Collaboration Leads to Cures. The philosophy driving UCSF’s Neurosciences Initiative is simple yet groundbreaking: by bringing together under one roof outstanding scientists, physician-scientists and patients – all of whom are focused on the common goal of eradicating neurological diseases. UCSF will create a new paradigm for uncovering and implementing novel treatments and cures for these illnesses.
2. What diseases will be the focus of these collaborations?
Addiction, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Autism, Alzheimer’s and related dementias, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, Stroke, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
3. If the goal is collaboration, what faculty and their programs will be brought together in this new building?
- UCSF’s Department of Neurology, chaired by Stephen L. Hauser, MD, is ranked number one among departments of neurology nationwide in terms of support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and overall among the top three in the most recent US News & World Reports ranking nationwide. All our efforts in the Department of Neurology reflect our intense dedication to our mission: excellence in patient care, education, and research. The Department’s 147 full-time faculty, 36 residents, and many fellows are equipped to manage whatever neurological condition is presented by our patients – no matter how common or rare, simple or complex.
- Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (IND). Stanley Prusiner, MD founded the IND in 1999 at UCSF to develop cures for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and frontotemporal dementias as well as the prion disorders typified by Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Neurodegenerative diseases are caused by the accumulation of abnormal proteins in the brain and most are age dependent. As people grow older, their risk for developing a neurodegenerative disease increases: by age 85, two out of every five people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. At the IND, many studies focus on how normal proteins adopt abnormal shapes that cause brain degeneration and how these aberrant shapes propagate throughout the brain. Interrupting protein self-propagation is one of several approaches that the IND is pursuing to develop effective treatments. Based on decades of groundbreaking, fundamental research, the IND is dedicated to developing novel therapies for these devastating brain disorders.
- W. M. Keck Foundation Center for Integrative Neuroscience, established in 1990 and directed by Stephen Lisberger, PhD focuses on understanding how nerve cells in the brain work together to generate human behaviors such as speech and movement. Research is focused on questions of how the nerve cells in brains work together to generate human behaviors, rather than on the operation of the nerve cells themselves. Approaches in use in the Keck Center include the rigorous analysis of behavior, measurements of the electrical activity of individual brain cells, imaging of brain tissue with modern microscopic techniques, computer modeling, and other theoretical approaches to brain function. Our research provides the foundation for applications to human neurological disease for disorders ranging from tremor to learning disabilities.
4. What is the Neurosciences Initiative and what are its innovations?
Responding to the challenges of a changing time for the funding and construction of facilities, UCSF is building a new home at Mission Bay for its Neurosciences with approaches that are as inventive as the synergy from the collaborative approaches to research, treatment and teaching the building will make possible. Altogether, these approaches boldly update and streamline the traditional capital campaign model, bringing special new opportunities in both construction and funding. Rather than follow the longer lead times required for University-built, construction of this new facility will be developer-built and (for the first 30 years) operated. This brings the ability to accelerate the pace of construction while lowering the cost of construction and reducing the risk of unexpected construction cost increases. Innovations in funding come from the Neurosciences Initiative and its goal of $95 million, raised over the next five years. Funds raised in the Initiative, and managed in the Neuroscience Initiative Fund, provide the advantage of a flexible revenue stream and investment opportunities that, over 30 years and coupled with other University funds, will pay for the entire cost of the building. Full ownership of the Neurosciences Building transfers to UCSF at the end of 30 years. Additionally, UCSF plans to assess the potential to raise another $55 million over the same period to provide critical Neuroscience program support.
5. Why aren’t other projects (like the new Medical Center) structured this way?
This is a pilot project that offers an alternative delivery method to developing projects. This approach may be appropriate for some projects but not for all, but it provides an additional option to the traditional design-bid-build process.
6. UCSF is also currently conducting a $600 million campaign to build a new hospital at Mission Bay. How does this Initiative complement this campaign? And how are we approaching donors in a way that is non-competitive?
At any one time, UCSF is typically conducting several fund-raising initiatives or campaigns. In all these efforts, the donor’s interest is the guiding factor for where contributions are allotted. A careful, time-tested process has been developed to ensure strong relationships with donors and prospects are developed with their interests at the forefront. For the Neurosciences Initiative, a discrete list of donors and prospects with a particular interest in the neurosciences has been assembled, forming the base of outreach for this Initiative.
7. What is the financial goal of the Neurosciences Initiative?
The Regents have approved an overall fundraising goal of $150 million. The Neurosciences Initiative is committed to raising a minimum of $95 million (of which $10 million has been committed) for building costs, while at the same time assessing our ability to raise another $55 million for program support.
8. Can Federal Stimulus funds be helpful in this campaign?
The building and Initiative were not eligible for Stimulus Funds because at the time we could apply, the project didn’t meet the criteria of “shovel ready.”
9. What impact will the economic cutbacks facing the State of California have on this Campaign?
Directly, there is no impact, since currently no state funds have been envisioned for this Initiative. Indirectly, the State of California’s economic problems only reinforce the need for this Initiative as a way to better ensure our self-reliance.
10. From a funding perspective, what is the time frame for the Neurosciences Initiative? When do these funds have to be raised? When will the building open?
The $95 million Neurosciences Initiative continues through 2014. The groundbreaking is planned for late Spring 2010, with construction of the new building expected to take 24 months.