University receives largest single donation ever to support brain research

An unprecedented donation of $16.5 million has been received for brain research at the University of Auckland.

Sir Richard Faull

The gift from the Hugh Green Foundation will support a new endowed Chair in Translational Neuroscience as well as support the Hugh Green Biobank in perpetuity at the University’s Centre for Brain Research.

University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon says the Hugh Green Foundation gift is the largest single donation ever received in the institution’s 136-year history.

It comes at the climax of the University’s Campaign For All Our Futures which aims to ask and answer some of the key challenges facing New Zealand and the global community. The gift also comes on the 10th anniversary of the CBR, established by world-renowned neuroscientist Distinguished Professor Sir Richard Faull.

The Hugh Green Foundation – via the late Hugh Green and his wife Moira – has been a significant supporter of the CBR, especially in providing funding in 2011 to establish the Hugh Green Biobank. The Biobank is one of a handful of brain research facilities around the world where scientists can grow human brain cells. These are now being used to develop and trial new drug compounds aimed at treating brain cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Motor Neuron disease.

Sir Richard Faull described the Hugh Green Foundation donation as a “dream come true” –enabling the Centre’s world-leading research to offer real hope for families and people touched tragically by cancer and neurodegenerative brain diseases.

“We can only do this research because of the generosity of families who support our research through brain and tissue donation; this incredible gift is transformational and we will be able to give back to families and offer them hope for the future,” Faull says.

Hugh Green Foundation Chair Bob Narev says the donation, the largest ever made by the Foundation, expands the already deep and rewarding partnership that exists between it and the Centre for Brain Research.

“It is the hope and expectation of the Hugh Green Foundation and the Green family that, in their partnership with the Centre for Brain Research, many lives will ultimately be improved and saved,” says Narev. “While neither Hugh nor Moira desired their philanthropy to appear in lights, their hope was that it would be an example and encouragement to others to emulate them.”

Vice-Chancellor McCutcheon says: “We know that one in three New Zealanders are affected by brain disease and look forward to this wonderful support from the Hugh Green Foundation accelerating research and improving treatments for those affected by brain diseases and their families. We are honoured that the Foundation has chosen the University of Auckland as the recipient of such a significant philanthropic gift.”

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