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$57.75M Gift to UC Irvine Will Fund Depression Research

February 11, 2022

The University of California, Irvine, has received a $57.75 million gift to create a center for research into the causes and treatment of depression, the university announced Thursday.

The donation comes from the estate of Audrey Steele Burnand, a Newport Beach philanthropist who contributed to the arts, education, conservation and scientific and medical research at institutions throughout Southern California.

It is believed to be the largest philanthropic gift ever made to a U.S. university expressly for depression research.

“This is an opportunity for UCI to make an enormous contribution toward helping the millions of people who directly and indirectly suffer from the effects of depression, which has become a major mental health crisis that can lead to job loss, social relationship breakdowns, drug abuse and suicide,” said Frank LaFerla, dean of the School of Biological Sciences. “Through the discoveries made at this outstanding new research center, we look forward to becoming a global scientific leader in uncovering the underpinnings of depression and helping those who need it most.”

Part of Burnand’s gift will also be used to support the Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center, which sits on the edge of California’s largest state park.

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