University of California San Francisco (UCSF) announced Thursday, Oct. 28, the opening of a new research center that will focus on mental health conditions and it is one of the most important throughout the country.
The 282,500 square-foot Weill Neurosciences Building is expected to be the largest combined neurology and neuroscience center in the U.S., according to Bestinau.
“It is focused and focused on bringing together new technology, tools and expertise,” said Dr. Stephen Hauser, director of Weill Institute for Neurosciences. “As part of that, we are also opening our doors to everyone with good ideas.”
The estimated $535 million worth of center opens doors to patients, physicians, medical scientists, and researchers to accelerate studies in brain diseases and treatments for disorders such as Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, to autism, schizophrenia, and depression.
Mimicking clinics with cozy wood tones and natural lights, the center is equipped with wide aisles, handrails, and streamlined textures to make movements easier for patients with neurological impairment.
The Weill Neurosciences Building is hoping to cluster together scientists and clinicians in neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry with 100 UCSF faculty members as well as 17 fundamental and clinical research departments.
“It really makes things a lot more fluid and reduces a lot of barriers to collaboration,” said Ethan Brown, assistant professor in neurology at the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences. “I think it’s huge that patients can come together for research and clinical care.”
The name of the building is an attribution to the people to finance its construction, the longtime UCSF benefactors Sanford “Sandy” Weil—former CEO and president of Citygroup—, and his wife Joan Weil through the Weill Family Foundation.
His family name is no stranger to many other major medical and cultural centers with philanthropic dedications over the past 40 years.
Sandy Weil explained that the project was very important to his family because his mother had died of Alzheimer’s and his father was a victim of depression.
“We are interested in neuroscience because we are always moving towards trying to support the downtrodden,” Mr. Weil said, noting that healthcare is keeping people alive longer but has not been able to sustain their brain ability to function as long.
“What we wanted to do was hope. That it will make the decade of the brain,” he added.
Hauser said the Weil family was a major influencer behind the building that brings together all knowledge to boost brain disease studies.
“Sandy and Joan keep pushing us to think big, to do things bolder, to do more,” he said. “… It was quite extraordinary. It was his vision and says a lot about his compassion for others and his desire to make a real impact.”
The Weill Neurosciences Building is situated in Mission Bay Medical Science District, 2 miles south of downtown San Francisco, according to Bestinau. It stands close to the Sandler Neurosciences Center, Arthur and Tony Rambe Rock Hall, Genentech Hall, and the Nancy Friend Pritzker Psychiatry Building which is soon to be opened as well.