UCLA receives $20-million gift to establish center for study of microbial organisms

Students walk on the UCLA campus
Students walk on the UCLA campus in 2021. The university received a $20-million gift, which will be used for the Goodman-Luskin Microbiome Center to develop treatments for autoimmune diseases.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

UCLA received a $20-million gift to help establish a center dedicated to the study of microbes, which contribute to autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and muscular dystrophy, the school announced Wednesday.

Andrea and Donald Goodman, president of Don Lee Farms, and Renee and Meyer Luskin, a businessman in the food recycling field, donated the money for the UCLA Goodman-Luskin Microbiome Center to develop treatments for autoimmune diseases, according to a release.

In 2011, Meyer Luskin, a UCLA alumnus, and his wife donated a combined $100 million to UCLA, where the Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center are named after the couple.


The donation from Paul and Jo Butterworth will support the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, funding research initiatives and scholarships.

Feb. 13, 2023

“The Goodmans and Luskins have been enduring supporters of UCLA Health’s mission to heal humankind and we are deeply grateful for this visionary gift,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement. “This is an investment in our distinguished researchers and their ability to find new pathways that advance patient care.”

Issues with microbial organisms in the human gastrointestinal tract have been associated with diseases ranging from obesity and eating disorders to autism and Alzheimer’s, the school said.

“Further study of the relationship between the microbiome and the brain is critical,” said Steven Dubinett, interim dean at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.