Irvine Co. Chairman Donald Bren has donated $5 million to UC Irvine for five research chairs, to further the university's studies of molecular medicine, cancer and human genetics.
The university hopes to recruit the Bren Fellows from other research institutions to work at the newly developed Irvine Biomedical Research Center.
The center seeks to foster research to "unravel the mysteries of biological systems" and translate those findings so they can be used in clinical treatments, the university announced in a news release Thursday.
Bren said he hopes his donation can help the Research Center become internationally known for its work, and "attract the very best researchers to pursue new approaches to the prevention and curing of disease."
The dean of UC Irvine's College of Medicine, Dr. Thomas C. Cesario, said the research made possible by Bren's gift will "lead to dramatic new therapeutic approaches to disease, which will have a positive impact for all humankind."
These endowments are administered through the Donald Bren Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that distributes grants for education, scientific research, the visual arts and conservation.
Bren already has sponsored five research chairs at UC Irvine. He has endowed more chairs than any other single donor at the University of California's nine campuses.
Among the initial Bren Fellows is Nobel laureate F. Sherwood Rowland, who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for showing the dangers of fluorocarbons in aerosol cans to the ozone layer.
Under the agreement, the university may privately develop campus land formerly owned by The Irvine Co., as long as it is used for academic purposes.