Alperns Launch Stem Cell Fund
Gift will aid scientists’ efforts in all types of stem cell research.
The Medical School and the Center for Stem Cell Biology have received a significant gift to fund broader opportunities for stem cell research at the U-M. The Robert and Marge Alpern Stem Cell Research Fund is designed to encourage both embryonic and tissue-specific (adult) stem cell research by offering scientists University-wide an additional resource for studies in this fast-growing field.
The fund’s creators, Robert and Marge Alpern of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, say they want to help the U-M retain and build upon its talented cadre of stem cell researchers and attract others to the field, which holds promise for treatments for many medical conditions and diseases.
The Alperns say their goal is for the University to support stem cell research with the greatest potential for increasing our understanding of fundamental stem cell biology as well as the potential for treating human disease. They view the use of stem cells as one of the most important advances in the history of medicine.
“Because we live in a democratic country with a long and proud history of openness and freedom, we wish to personally support the important research on stem cells in the face of the political restrictions placed on it by both the federal and state governments,” the Alperns say.
The Alperns and U-M officials envision the fund as a catalyst to motivate other donors to help the U-M continue to build on its strong record in stem cell research. Anyone wishing to support stem cell research can contribute to the fund.
“We are extremely grateful to Bob and Marge for both their amazing vision and incredibly generous support in providing this seminal gift specifically for stem cell research,” says James Douglas Engel, Ph.D., the G. Carl Huber Professor of Developmental Biology and chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. The department includes the Michigan Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research, which receives federal funds for research using federally approved embryonic stem cell lines.
“This gift that creates the Alpern Fund provides a beacon of hope for millions of individuals who suffer from devastating diseases that might be eliminated by novel treatments we believe will emerge from stem cell research,” Engel says. “This gift is all the more impressive because it is not restricted by current politics: Bob and Marge wish for the gift to be used to promote the very best stem cell research we can identify, regardless of whether it is on embryonic or adult stem cells.”
The Alperns have made other large gifts to the U-M for complementary and integrative medicine and the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. They are both 1942 graduates of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. —Anne Rueter
To learn more about making a gift to the fund, visit www.medicineatmichigan.org/gifts and select “Alpern Stem Cell Research Fund,” or contact Anne Cooper, Office of Medical Development, at (734) 998-7707 or [email protected].