In 2008, USC broke ground on an $80 million building dedicated solely to stem cell research and regenerative medicine. The plans called for a monolithic structure clad in black marble and reflective glass, rising five stories and enclosing nearly 90,000 square feet. When it was completed, the university had a stunning new contemporary research space at the center of its Health Sciences Campus in Los Angeles–a place where scientists could edit genes, engineer tissues, and fulfill the promise of stem cells.
This building would never have existed without $27 million in funding from California taxpayers, who had voted in favor of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, also known as Prop 71, in 2004. By approving this ballot proposition, voters created a state agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), charged with distributing $3 billion of public money to accelerate stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs.
The $27 million of CIRM funding attracted an additional $30 million gift from The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, dedicated to the construction of USC’s stem cell research center. Eli and Edythe Broad also funded two other stem cell centers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Francisco. At the