The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation Awards Funds to McGowan Institute Affiliated Faculty for Scientific Studies
The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation, part of The Pittsburgh Foundation, recently announced its 2014 grants – amounting to $1.95 million – to support cutting-edge scientific research at institutions across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Under the leadership of a seven-member Board of Directors, supported by a specially-appointed seven-member Scientific Advisory Board, systems and processes have been established to administer the Kaufman Foundation’s grant making program. In this, its second series of annual grants, the organization awarded funding to five initiatives in the New Investigator Research category and four grants in the New Initiative Research category.
From the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and in the New Investigator Research category, a grant of $150,000 over 2 years ($75,000 per year) was awarded to:
Tzahi Cohen-Karni, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, for research on “The Investigation of Pancreatic Islet Electrical Properties by a High Density Nanodevices Array”
From the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and in the New Initiative Research category, a grant of $300,000 over 2 years ($150,000 per year) was awarded to:
Ayusman Sen, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemistry, and Anna C. Balazs, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, for research on “Autonomous Interacting Microbotic Systems”
A total of nine grants were awarded to leading researchers at six Pennsylvania universities: Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University, Lehigh University, and Philadelphia’s University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University.
The grant making program saw a large increase of applications in its two award categories – New Investigator Research and New Initiative Research. More than 240 applications were received from 30 institutions throughout Pennsylvania, an increase of 30% over the 170 received last year.
Charles Kaufman passed away in September 2010, shortly after his 97th birthday, leaving his estate of almost $50 million to the Foundation, of which approximately $40 million was assigned to the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation to support new research initiatives at Pennsylvania institutions of higher learning in chemistry, biology, and physics. The fund is valued as one of the major resources for basic scientific research in Pennsylvania.
A former chemical engineer, Mr. Kaufman amassed most of his wealth following his retirement, all of which he dedicated to his heartfelt ambition for his philanthropy to one day help fund breakthrough scientific research and, he hoped, Nobel Prize-winners whose scientific accomplishments would contribute significantly to the betterment and understanding of human life.
“Mr. Kaufman’s vision was to use the power of research to drive innovations for humankind,” said Molly Beerman, The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Interim President and CEO. “His fund at The Pittsburgh Foundation has made great strides in reaching this lofty goal in just two short years, delivering much needed support to researchers at a time where other traditional funding sources have declined.”
“Because of the generosity and foresight of Mr. Kaufman, we are able to facilitate the initiation of research projects and cultivate new researchers, placing them in a position to deliver advances and attract additional sources of support for their work,” said Dr. Graham Hatfull, Chair of the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, Eberly Family Professor of Biotechnology and Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.