Baltimore Business Journal - by Emily Mullin
Date: Thursday, October 28, 2010
An Indiana couple has donated $45 million to the University of Maryland School of Medicine to create a new research center, marking the largest private gift in the history of the University System of Maryland. The gift will help expand the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research and study other autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes.
The couple, Ken and Sheila Cafferty, have dealt with celiac disease. Sheila suffers from the disease, a disorder in which the small intestine is not able to digest gluten, found most commonly in wheat products. An estimated one out of 133 people in the U.S. suffers from celiac. Out of the total donation, $40 million comes from a private foundation in which the Cafferties are key stakeholders. The remaining $5 million comes to the school of medicine directly from the couple and will fund an endowed distinguished professor and director position for the research center. The center will hire 13 faculty members initially, but eventually it hopes to employs as many as 200 people.
Dr. Alessio Fasano, professor and director of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, will be the first director of the new research enterprise.
Note: Dr. Fasano has moved to Massachusetts General Hospital.
Alessio Fasano, MD, is Visiting Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and Division Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston. He also serves as Associate Chief of Basic, Clinical and Translational Research for the Department of Pediatrics, Director of the Center for Celiac Research and Director of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at the same institution.