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Funding Priorities

The new Sandler Neurosciences Center at Mission Bay offers both remarkable opportunities and immense challenges. With over 65,000 square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory space devoted to studies of the neurodegenerative diseases, the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases has a unique opportunity to recruit the very best, most talented, most imaginative scientists, who will focus their efforts on neurodegeneration. To turn this vision into reality, funds are needed to create fully equipped laboratories, endowed chairs and start-up packages. Additionally, funds are needed for the custom synthesis of thousands of chemical analogs—a critical need in all modern drug discovery work. The IND does not receive direct State support so we need to raise funds in order to make these programs a reality.

Any help you can give for our funding priorities is greatly appreciated. Let us put an end to the day when a neurologist gives a patient a diagnosis of one these dread diseases, but can offer no hope. 

Basic Needs

It takes approximately $500,000 a year to support a single lead scientist in their goal of uncovering the causes of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion diseases. At the IND, this means we need a total of more than $20 million a year to keep our labs running.

Synthetic & Medicinal Chemistry Laboratories

The fourth floor of the Sandler Neurosciences Center at Mission Bay currently houses 12,000 square feet of shell space equipped with state-of-the-art ventilation systems to accommodate 24 fume hoods that will permit the synthesis of a wide range of new chemicals. Support of the Synthetic and Medicinal Chemistry Laboratories will allow the IND to fully build out and equip these laboratories.

Distinguished Professorships

UCSF’s highest faculty honor, Distinguished Professorships, enable the University to make a permanent, substantial commitment to a researcher. Reserved for leaders in their fields, these positions signify UCSF’s belief in a faculty member’s past contributions and future promise.

During the next three years, the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases will be recruiting nine outstanding tenure-track professors in the fields of chemical biology, cellular neurobiology and structural neurobiology. All faculty recruitments for the IND are conducted by search committees composed of outstanding University of California professors across various departments. This expertise and diversity ensures that only the most qualified and exciting researchers are brought to UCSF and the IND.

Funds are needed to ensure we can provide each of these new faculty members with a start-up package funding their first three years of research. Additionally, we need to guarantee 10 years of full salary support for each recruit; otherwise these outstanding scientists will not come.

Drug Discovery

The development of imaging probes and drugs for the diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases is exceedingly expensive. The drug funnel must be very large at the beginning; otherwise, no drugs will emerge. The large scale of the funnel requires that hundreds of thousands of compounds are screened using robotic systems and that the “hits” are analyzed extensively. This analysis is an iterative process that involves synthesizing thousands of analogs, which is both time-consuming and costly. Only through many rounds of synthesis and testing can effective drugs be developed that cross the barrier that prevents most drugs from getting into the brain.

Funds are needed to expand the drug funnel to a size where we can be assured that 3 or 4 drugs will emerge from Phase III clinical trials so that effective cocktails can be given to patients suffering from these horrible maladies.

Funding for Early Stage Projects

External funding for early stage, innovative projects is very difficult to obtain. We need a fund for early stage proof of concept projects to take them to the point where they will be ready for competitive external funding.

Make a gift

 For more information concerning a gift in support of any of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease's highest funding priorities, please contact:

Michael Faber
Associate Vice Chancellor, University Development & Alumni Relations
University of California, San Francisco