A Silicon Valley venture capitalist who is a USC alumnus and his wife are donating $50 million to a USC brain research institute in hopes of treating such disorders as Alzheimer’s disease, autism and traumatic brain injuries.
The gift from Mark and Mary Stevens will support the USC Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute being named after them, an interdisciplinary unit that includes medicine, biology, computer science and pharmacology and other departments at the university, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The institute’s leaders, neuroscientists Arthur Toga and Paul Thompson, and their research team moved from UCLA to USC in 2013 in what was described as an academic recruiting feat.
In an interview, Mark Stevens told The Times that he and his wife consider neuroscience to be “the next great frontier in medicine and science.”He added that he has “a front row seat” to the toll of such neurological diseases as Alzheimer’s, from which his father suffers.
Stevens, 55, earned bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and economics from USC in 1981 and a master’s in computer engineering there in 1984. He later received an MBA from Harvard. He became one of the managing partners of the Sequoia Capital fund that bet on Google and other emerging tech firms. He now runs his own venture enterprise, S-Cubed Capital, The Times reported. An Atherton resident and USC trustee, he is on Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires.
The couple previously donated about $35 million to USC for such causes as a center for nurturing inventions and a program to help student athletes with their studies, according to The Times. They also have given large amounts to Santa Clara University, where Mary Stevens is an alumna and a trustee.
—City News Service