National, 09 February, 2023 – The University of Southern California (USC) and Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Biomedical Engineering have launched a major initiative to reimagine biomedical engineering and pharmaceutical sciences for the 21st century. The naming gift from inventor and physicist Alfred E. Mann has grown to more than $230 million that will be used to support the expansion of USC’s academic and research activities at the intersection of health sciences and engineering.
To acknowledge this new focus and related investments, two USC entities will be renamed as USC Alfred E. Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Alfred E. Mann Department of Biomedical Engineering within the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
The naming gift from Giving Pledger Alfred E. Mann will be used to fund a $50 million endowment for the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to bolster student scholarships and faculty recruitment and integrate a university-wide biomedical innovation research infrastructure, and a $35 million endowment for the Department of Biomedical Engineering to expand medical engineering research, attract top faculty, and strengthen collaboration with the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Additional funds will go towards interdisciplinary endowed chairs across multiple schools to support life-improving and life-saving research, innovation, and student learning, and the continued support of the Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering at USC.
Praising the initiative, Carol Folt, President, University of Southern California said, “This initiative reflects Alfred Mann’s pioneering vision and has the power to expand human understanding in pharmaceutical sciences and biomedical engineering. Our pharmacy school, in that spirit, has innovation built into its own DNA. In the coming century, biomedical engineering will drive some of the most consequential breakthroughs. The school is now partnering with USC Dornsife to turn plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into medicines and other much-needed products.”
The endowment will enable the School of Pharmacy to continue its century-long tradition of innovative programming, research, practice, and collaboration. One of the first schools of pharmacy in the country at its founding in 1905, the school established itself as a trailblazer in changing the education requirements and professional career path of pharmacy early on by training professionals across the continuum of pharmaceutical sciences, from clinical care to economics.
“Very few pharmacy schools have received naming gifts, and still fewer have been bestowed with a significant endowment,” said Vassilios Papadopoulos, dean of USC Mann. “What this means for our community and how it will redirect what we can achieve is beyond measure. We will continue to transform how students are educated, in all of our degree programs, so they remain prepared to continue pushing forward the frontiers of pharmacy and health care to benefit individuals and communities everywhere.”
The department of biomedical engineering, established in 1976, is one of the oldest biomedical engineering departments in the country, born from advances in electrical and mechanical engineering and the realization that engineering innovation could be beneficial to the human body. It is the first such program in California to offer bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. An early pioneer in neural engineering, medical devices, diagnostics and, more recently, in molecular bioengineering, the department has achieved many notable successes.
For USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, the Department of Biomedical Engineering’s naming gift is a natural offshoot of the department’s early and close affiliation with AMI. Yortsos hopes to use some of the funds to expand the department’s programming and research and deepen its relationship with Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Naming the department has always been an important goal of the school since it provides additional resources for growth and global impact. It is also a testament to the university’s commitment to advancing the field.”
Throughout his long and distinguished career, Mann founded companies and funded the creation of products that revolutionized the healthcare field. He also donated more than $174 million to USC toward advancements for human health, including the establishment of AMI-USC, which has been instrumental in creating groundbreaking medical inventions such as the artificial retina. Mann, who died in 2016, was a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and also served on the Board of Overseers of Keck School of Medicine of USC.