News Local

Record $15M gift for UBC

By Byron Chu, QMI Agency Vancouver

A Vancouver philanthropist gave $15 million to the University of British Columbia Monday to help fund the new Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. It was the largest gift ever received by the school's Faculty of Medicine.

The announcement also drew the ire of animal rights activists who protested the use of monkeys in the research.

The 12,500-square-metre centre will open in 2013 at UBC Hospital and bring together a range of researchers, doctors and other health professionals under one roof.

"This is a major, pivotal donation to a project that I believe will change the way we deliver health care associated with diseases of the brain," said Dr. Max Cynader, the centre's director.

"By bringing together all of the advanced technology that has been developed in the last few years to assist us in dealing with diseases of the brain, we hope to do things that no one else in the world can actually do."

A dozen protesters wearing monkey masks from Stop UBC Animal Research surrounded the stage during the ceremony. They called on the university to release four rhesus monkeys to be injected with substances to duplicate Parkinson's disease and then killed for testing.

byron.chu@sunmedia.ca