Swati Pandey, 310-954-5049, spandey@broadfoundation.org

$1.2 Million Gift from The Broad Foundation Will Support Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research at UCLA

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 7, 2017—The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has awarded $1.2 million to four UCLA researchers pursuing early-stage inflammatory bowel disease research, the foundation announced today. The new grant brings the foundation’s support of UCLA’s IBD Research Center to more than $7 million.

“More than 5 million people around the world struggle with inflammatory bowel disease,” said Gerun Riley, president of The Broad Foundation. “It’s a privilege to support scientists whose research will improve lives.”

In the 10 years since its founding, the IBD Research Center has made significant advances in the field, publishing 107 peer-reviewed papers and, through its Center for Systems Biomedicine, discovering two new drugs to treat IBD.

“The Broad Foundation gift will help our scientists generate preliminary evidence for innovative projects,” said Charalabos “Harry” Pothoulakis, head of the IBD Research Center at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “The grant is vital to addressing the financial challenges faced by our researchers as they embark on and sustain their work in IBD.”

The Broad Foundation began supporting inflammatory bowel disease research nearly 20 years ago by creating the Broad Medical Research Program, which invested in early-career scientists pursuing pilot research. The foundation awarded more than $43 million through the program, and grant recipients went on to receive more than $142 million in additional funding.

The foundation’s latest grant will fund four research projects over the next three years.

Assistant Professor of Medicine Jill May Hoffman, Ph.D., will explore how the body’s “second brain”—the enteric nervous system—can promote wound healing and remission during IBD.

Assistant Project Scientist Ka Man Law, Ph.D., will examine the role of a novel protein involved in the regulation of intestinal permeability, which could point to a new genetic target for treating IBD.

Assistant Project Scientist Kai Fang, Ph.D., will study how IBD develops, particularly the roles played by neuropeptides—molecules that help neurons communicate with each other—and microRNAs, which regulate expression of IBD-related genes.

Associate Professor of Medicine Hon Wai Koon, Ph.D., will test an antimicrobial peptide that could help ease intestinal fibrosis, a common complication in IBD patients that, so far, has no effective treatment.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation invests in innovative scientific and medical research in the areas of human genomics, stem cell research and inflammatory bowel disease. In an unprecedented partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and its affiliated hospitals and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, the foundation committed $700 million to fund The Broad Institute, the world’s leading genomic medicine research institute that is focused on using the power of genomics to understand human disease. The Broad Foundation has also invested in advancing stem cell research, particularly in California through the creation of the Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC, the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF. For more information, visit www.broadfoundation.org/.

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