La Jolla

The UC San Diego Medical School and the Salk Institute have received a $12-million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to fund construction of a genetic research center on the university’s La Jolla campus.

The grant, approved by the Hughes Institute’s trustees Tuesday in New York City, will finance the construction of a 42,000-square-foot research center where UCSD and Salk scientists will study molecular genetics and methods of treating genetic diseases. The grant includes $10 million for construction of the center and $2 million for furnishings and administrative costs.

“It’s a very important thing for both the university and the community,” said Dr. Ruth Covell, associate dean of the UCSD Medical School. “It focuses some national attention on the fact that San Diego is . . . on the cutting edge of research in these areas.”

The building will be located adjacent to a molecular biology center now being built on the campus, Covell said. She added that construction of the new research center is expected to begin next spring and be completed within two years.


The research center’s staff will include about six major genetic scientists, in addition to research assistants and laboratory technicians, Covell said.

The Hughes Institute, established by the late billionaire Howard Hughes in 1953, was funded by Hughes Aircraft, which was sold Wednesday to the General Motors for $5 billion. The institute’s grant to UCSD and Salk represents the 17th research laboratory to be funded by the Hughes foundation.