The University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester has announced a $10 million commitment from the Li Weibo Charitable Foundation to establish an institute dedicated to the study of rare diseases.
The Li Weibo Institute for Rare Disease Research will bring together current UMass faculty whose expertise has led to profound discoveries related to diseases, including ALS, cystic fibrosis, Canavan disease, Rett syndrome, Huntington's disease, fragile X syndrome, and other disorders. The institute will be led by Guangping Gao, a professor of microbiology and physiological systems and director of UMass Medical's Horae Gene Therapy Center, and UMMS chancellor Michael Green, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. In addition to the $10 million gift to the school, Li has pledged $750,000 to establish an annual scholarship for up to five doctoral students at UMass Medical's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
Although he has not officially joined the Giving Pledge, Li, founder, chair, and CEO of Glory Harvest Group Holding Ltd., plans to donate half his wealth to his foundation, which he established in 2013 with the aim of supporting causes such as biomedical research and education.
"In the global scientific research field, quantum leaps in biomedical and human health research will be made in the near future," said Li. "My goal is to participate in and promote biomedical research."