UCSD to Build Eye Research Center : $1-Million Donation, Regents’ OK Move Project Forward

Times Staff Writer

A $7-million center for research and treatment of eye disease will be built at UC San Diego, thanks to a $1-million private donation and approval of a construction plan by the Board of Regents on Friday.

Meeting in San Francisco, the regents authorized building the new Shiley Eye Center with the donation, a $500,000 grant from the National Eye Institute and a commercial loan. More donations are being sought.

The center will be named after Donald P. and Darlene V. Shiley, San Diego and Pauma Valley residents with a longstanding interest in medical issues, who donated the $1 million.

In 1967, Donald Shiley developed a tilting disc heart valve that is credited with revolutionizing the industry. Darlene Shiley is president of the Scripps Clinic Research Council, a group of donors to that private La Jolla medical institution. She also is active in a variety of arts groups.


“The UCSD program is such an impressive blend of science, technology and humanity that it is impossible not to be moved and impressed at the same time,” Darlene Shiley said of the couple’s donation. “We originally thought we would contribute to one of the laboratories, but after reviewing the program and plans for a center, we had to do more.”

“We are grateful to the Shileys for their support of our efforts to establish a world-class eye center at UCSD,” said Chancellor Richard C. Atkinson. “Their generous contribution has brought us significantly closer to that goal.”

With an annual research budget of about $1.8 million, the UCSD ophthalmology department will use the new, 32,144-square-foot building to conduct research into a variety of eye diseases, including glaucoma and cancer.

Researchers also will address treatment for traumatic eye injuries, develop new ophthalmologic equipment, pursue studies in molecular biology and study diseases resulting from disorders such as diabetes and AIDS.

Physicians in the department schedule about 45,000 patient visits a year.

The three-story eye center will be built south of the School of Medicine’s Basic Science Building, west of Interstate 5. It is expected to be completed in 1990 and will consolidate eye programs now scattered over the UCSD campus in La Jolla and at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.

Architects for the project are Anshen & Allen of Beverly Hills.