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$1 million gift honors KU professor Valentino Stella

Valentino Stella
Valentino Stella

A $1 million lead gift from Gilead Sciences enhances a professorship fund honoring Valentino Stella, University Distinguished Professor of Phamaceutical Chemistry at the University of Kansas.

“Gilead is pleased to recognize the numerous and significant contributions that Dr. Stella has made through his research, teaching and mentorship to the field of pharmaceutical science,” said William Lee, senior vice president of research for Gilead Sciences. “We commend and thank Dr. Stella for all he has done to translate his findings into meaningful scientific and medical advances that have made a positive impact on the lives of patients around the world.”

Now in his 38th year of teaching in KU’s School of Pharmacy, Stella is internationally known for pharmaceutical discoveries; he is the inventor or co-inventor of 37 patents that led to drugs for the treatment of epilepsy, cancer and AIDS, and an anesthetic. He is co-leader of the KU Cancer Center’s drug discovery and experimental therapeutics program.

A native of Melbourne, Australia, Stella graduated from the Victorian College of Pharmacy. He completed a doctorate in analytical pharmaceutical chemistry at KU, where he studied under the late KU professor Takeru Higuchi. Stella was named the 2011 recipient of the Takeru Higuchi Research Prize, an international award recognizing accomplishments in pharmaceutical sciences.

“I am very honored that Gilead has seen fit to support this professorship,” said Stella. “It will provide valuable resources to maintain the high quality of the faculty and the graduate program in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry started by Professor Takeru Higuchi.”

Ken Audus, dean of the School of Pharmacy, expressed his gratitude to Gilead Sciences, which is located in Foster City, Calif.

“We sincerely thank Gilead for their gift for the professorship,” Audus said. “This gift assures the permanent honoring of Val Stella’s many significant contributions to the pharmaceutical sciences during his career at KU. It will enable the school to attract another world-class researcher and teacher to work in the area of drug development and delivery.”

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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