...Changing The World

Gary K. Michelson, C.L. Max Nikias; USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience Announcement [USC] [2014-01-13]

USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience Announcement [USC] [2014-01-13]

Context

USC announces the Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience

On January 13, 2014, the University of Southern California President formally announced the philanthropic support of Gary K. Michelson with a generous gift of $50 million toward the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, a new building on campus dedicated to convergent bioscience.

Expected to house 20 to 30 principal investigators with laboratories employing hundreds of researchers and students, the faculty and research teams of the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience will explore new frontiers in medicine and health. Such interdisciplinary collaboration will lead to the development of new life-saving devices and therapeutics.

With cutting-edge flexible labs, a center for electron microscopy and analysis, a nanofabrication facility and a suite of microscopy imaging technology, the 190,000-square-foot facility will tackle the most critical health issues of our time by transforming how research is conducted. Abandoning walls that have separated experts in different disciplines fighting the same disease, science and engineering will come together to improve lives.

Advances in the understanding of living systems spurred by the genome revolution – coupled with improvements in computing technology – will position the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience as a hub of medical advancement.

The USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience was inaugurated on November 1st, 2017.

Transcript

C.L. Max Nikias: So now it is my great privilege and pleasure to introduce the man who has set the stage for the future of interdisciplinary research and discovery at USC and the man who has made this day possible. So please welcome a celebrated surgeon, a genius of invention, and an extraordinarily generous philanthropist, Dr. Gary Michelson.

Gary K. Michelson: Well thank you for those kind words. I’m gonna have to try to live up to that.

Um, it actually was just a matter of mere weeks ago that David Cohen, my friend and business manager – where’s David? Come on. Stand up, David.

Uh, David, did you go to USC, David?

Okay. Uh, David came to me and he said, uh, “There’re some folks down at USC who would like to talk to you about putting your name on a building,” and I said, “David, come on. We’ve been through that so many times. I have no interest.” And he was persistent and three days later he arrived in his little Prius and I came in my 13-year-old PT Cruiser that I paid about $19,000 for new. I’m just trying to give you some context here.

And, uh, we were met by Steve Kay and, uh, Scott Fraser, and, um – don’t help me here. I’m gonna get this – Michael Quick. So in Vegas they make note of – that’s three against two.

And they put us in a small room and all we talked about for an hour, uh, was science, and in particular, um, what I thought was a visionary, daringly bold, overarching architecture for how to conduct science for a university. Um, I’ve been funding medical research at universities for a long time, and they take pride in the fact that they’re ivory towers, um, and they do heads-down research, and it’s research for the research’s sake, and this sure wasn’t that.

This was the idea of doing convergent research to produce real-world breakthroughs in real-time. And at that point I think it might have been Michael said, “I really wanna show you something interesting, doctor,” and it was a shiny kinda gold disk about that big on the end of a string. And he said, “I want you to pay attention to this, ’cause the more attention you pay, the more you concentrate” – and I just remember feeling sleepy.

He kept swinging it back and forth. But you know, I think it turned out all right, because when I woke up –

He kept swinging it back and forth. But you know, I think it turned out all right, because when I woke up –– he said, “Do you feel refreshed?” and I said, “Yeah, I do.”

And then I remember asking to whom I should make the check out.

And at that point somebody said, “And you know there’s a building too and they’re gonna put your name on it.” I went, “That’s great. I’ve always wanted that.” (laughs)

And here we are.

So – On behalf of my wife, Alya, and myself, we actually would like to thank the university, because we feel like, even though we’re a small part, to be included in this, this is going to be a grand adventure and we thank you. Thank you, Max.

Press Excerpt

Great Minds Converge on Our Biggest Biomedical Problems

Gary Michelson advances the university’s efforts to fast-track detection and treatment of diseases.

(…) USC received a $50 million gift from Dr. Gary K. Michelson, a renowned inventor and retired orthopaedic surgeon. His extraordinarily generous gift will establish the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience.

Housed in a new building, the center will signal a new era of collaboration between the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. The center will stand in the southwest quadrant of our University Park Campus, in close proximity to the majority of our science and engineering buildings. It will fundamentally redefine how research is conducted at the intersection of engineering and the life and biomedical sciences, and help further develop a major biomedical research corridor in Southern California.

Dr. Michelson, who is a resident of Los Angeles, is a new benefactor of the university. In supporting USC, he said he was drawn to our collaborative spirit and our unique ability to bring together experts from diverse fields. He told the Los Angeles Times that this approach “resonates with my life work,” and that he wishes to advance “research for humanity’s sake, goal oriented, with results manifested in the real world.”

Today Dr. Michelson is internationally known as a philanthropist. He has funded medical research, provided textbooks to students and worked to convert municipal animal shelters into no-kill adoption facilities. He spent more than 25 years as a spinal surgeon, and his groundbreaking work has generated more than 955 issued or pending patents worldwide. Over the course of his career, he has improved spinal implant operating procedures and the instruments to perform those procedures, which have helped millions of patients suffering from spine ailments.

Now, in providing his support to create the USC Michelson Center, he advances the university’s efforts to turn the biological sciences into a quantitative and predictive science, fast-tracking the detection and cure of diseases. In recent years, we have made significant strides in our understanding of living systems spurred by the genome revolution, coupled with improvements in computing technology. Scientists at the USC Michelson Center will collaborate to translate those advances to the real world and accelerate the invention of life-saving biomedical devices.

The USC Michelson Center will house 20 to 30 principal investigators with laboratories employing hundreds of researchers and students. The facility will include cutting-edge flexible labs, a center for electron microscopy and analysis, a nanofabrication facility and a suite of microscopy imaging technology that can take precise measurements inside cells.

Alya Michelson, Gary K. Michelson, C.L. Max Nikias, Niki C. Nikias; USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience Announcement [2014-01-13] (Credit: Steve Cohn Photography)Alya & Gary Michelson (left), C.L. Max Nikias, USC President, and his wife Niki C. Nikias (right) pose for a picture following the USC Michelson Center announcement on January 13th, 2014. (Credit: Steve Cohn Photography)

Alya Michelson, Gary K. Michelson; USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience Announcement [2014-01-13] (Credit: Steve Cohn Photography)Gary K. Michelson exchanges looks with his wife, Alya Michelson, before climbing to the stage to address the audience following the announcement of the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience on January 13th, 2014. (Credit: Steve Cohn Photography)

Michael Quick, Scott E. Fraser, Gary K. Michelson, Steve A. Kay, C.L. Max Nikias, Yannis C. Yortsos; USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience Announcement [2014-01-13] (Credit: Steve Cohn Photography)Michael Quick, Scott E. Fraser, Gary K. Michelson, Steve A. Kay, C.L. Max Nikias and Yannis C. Yortsos pose for a photograph following the announcement of the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience on January 13th, 2014. (Credit: Steve Cohn Photography)

Quotes
C.L. Max Nikias, University of Southern California President.

So now it is my great privilege and pleasure to introduce the man who has set the stage for the future of interdisciplinary research and discovery at USC and the man who has made this day possible. So please welcome a celebrated surgeon, a genius of invention, and an extraordinarily generous philanthropist, Dr. Gary Michelson.

Gary K. Michelson

This was the idea of doing convergent research to produce real-world breakthroughs in real-time.

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