The hospital at UC Irvine Medical Center has been officially renamed UC Irvine Douglas Hospital in honor of local businessman M.A. Douglas, whose estate donated $21 million to the new medical facility after his death in 2008 at age 97. On Oct. 27, about 200 community leaders and UCI officials, physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers gathered at the hospital to honor Douglas and view a tribute in the lobby featuring videos, artifacts from his life and a sculpted bust. After several speakers highlighted the importance of the posthumous gift, attendees watched a short time-lapse movie of the installation of the new hospital sign on the building.
UCI's Science Library was formally renamed the Francisco J. Ayala Science Library in October. Chancellor Michael Drake, biological sciences chair Albert Bennett and 2010 UCI Medal recipient Hazem Chehabi lauded the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences' lifelong work as a biologist, his success at bridging the schism between science and religion, and his unswerving dedication to the University of California. "I can think of no greater honor than this," Ayala said. "There's no other place that would be more meaningful to me than a library, particularly this library."
A patient with a spinal cord injury has been injected with stem cells in the world's first clinical trial of a human embryonic stem cell-based therapy. In laboratory tests, UCI's Hans Keirstead and Dr. Gabriel Nistor developed a technique for prompting human embryonic stem cells to form new tissue around damaged neurons, allowing the restoration of motor function. Menlo Park, Calif.-based Geron Corp. is sponsoring the trial at a number of U.S. locations; the first subject enrolled at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
The site for The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute's new clinical and academic center was dedicated Oct. 29 at the UC Irvine School of Medicine, near the corner of Health Sciences Road and Bison Avenue. When completed, the $31 million, 60,000-square-foot facility will cement UCI's status as a global leader in eye care and ophthalmologic research, boasting state-of-the-art patient exam and waiting areas, an outpatient surgery center, an optical shop, and faculty office and conference space.