University of Michigan announces $100,000 science prize funded by billionaire A. Alfred Taubman
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
Eva Feldman, the director of the 4-year-old A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the University of Michigan Health System, said Taubman wants “a 100,000 gift given to the best clinician scientists in the world.” We anticipate this person will come speak at our annual symposium each year; and anticipate it will bring exceptional clinician scientists to the University of Michigan.”
The 16 scientists working in U-M labs funded by Taubman’s donations are among the university’s elite researchers, said University of Michigan Health System CEO Ora Hirsch Pescovitz at an annual Taubman Symposium at U-M.
Each scholar is a scientist as well as a clinician who sees patients. The goal is that the research of the doctor-scholars will have real-word applications, rather than stay in the lab, a common research pitfall, said Feldman, who is leading the first human clinical trial of a stem cell treatment for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Other researchers are looking into better treatments and cures for conditions and diseases like obesity, pancreatic and breast cancer and other diseases.
The institute was launched in 2007 with a $22 million donation from the Pontiac native and U-M dropout. In April, U-M announced a $56 million gift from Taubman, which would help grow the institute’s reach to fund 16 scholars. The gift made him the largest donor in U-M’s history, with donations topping $140 million.
The symposium included a speech from Gov. Rick Snyder and remarks from Taubman scholars.
Biomedical research like that being done at the University of Michigan is key to the reinvention of the state, Snyder told the crowd of more than 150 people gathered at Kuhn Auditorium in the Alfred A. Taubman Biomedical Research Building. The facility was renamed in Taubman’s honor after his latest donation.
Snyder said he wants to see the state optimize commercial opportunities born of basic research.
“We can come up with the idea, prove the scientific principles behind it, and we can also take it and make it into an application where it can touch peoples’ lives. That’s truly exciting,” he said.
Taubman was on hand for the symposium and the sign dedication afterward.