The board chairman of Yahoo Inc. and his wife are donating $25 million to endow the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, the institute’s director, Dr. Peter Whybrow, announced Thursday.
The gift from Terry Semel and Jane Bovington Semel is one of the largest ever dedicated exclusively to the better understanding of the human brain, Whybrow said. He said that in recognition of the grant, the institute will be renamed the Jane and Terry Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.
The donation will support research and community education programs to address the treatment and understanding of such illnesses as autism, mood disorders, addiction and Alzheimer’s disease, Whybrow said.
He said the gift offered “an unprecedented opportunity to create and lead a new humanitarian vision for the field of neuroscience.”
Terry Semel, who joined Yahoo as its chairman and chief executive officer in 2001, said he hoped the gift would “help lift the stigma that weighs heavily on millions of Americans suffering from diseases of the brain.”
Jane Semel is the founder of ijane inc., a nonprofit production company that addresses public health issues through entertainment.
The neuropsychiatric institute, founded 50 years ago, has a full-time faculty that includes 370 physicians and research scientists, 700 clinical personnel and 1,300 staff members. Its research centers study neurobehavioral genetics, developmental and cognitive neuroscience, neuropharmacology, brain imaging, immunology, health policy and sociocultural issues.