Gonda History

     For the next millennium, an effective laboratory environment is one which is revolutionary: open, computerized, interactive, and designed to facilitate a constant exchange of ideas among investigators from diverse disciplines and persuasions. To maximize creative neuroscience and genetics research at UCLA and to attract outstanding young scientists for the next century, UCLA constructed the Gonda (Goldschmied) Neuroscience and Genetics Research Center. Dedicated on December 15, 1998, this unique facility creates unlimited opportunities for dynamic advances in medical research that will translate discoveries from the laboratory bench to the patient's bedside.

     The fields of human genetics and molecular neuroscience are universally accepted to be among the most important disciplines for the approaching century. They hold tremendous promise for advancing our understanding of human behavior and for treating and curing many of humankind's most tragic and widespread diseases and disorders. To ensure UCLA's continuing prominence in these fields, the Gonda (Goldschmied) Neuroscience and Genetics Research Center provides a home for the UCLA Brain Research Institute and the UCLA Department of Human Genetics. Research programs in this facility enlist faculty from the School of Medicine and the College of Letters and Science.

     Designed by Robert Venturi of Venturi Scott Brown & Associates and the Los Angeles based firm of Lee, Burkhardt, Liu, the Gonda (Goldschmied) Neuroscience and Genetics Research Center was made possible through the vision and generosity of Leslie and Susan Gonda. As Leslie Gonda explains, he and Susan were born in Hungary. After escaping from the Komarom forced labor camp in 1944, Leslie took the Gonda name in order to escape Hitler's tyranny. Susan survived internment at Auschwitz, and after the war they were married in Switzerland.

     Leslie and Susan built a new life for their family in Venezuela and later in Los Angeles, California. In 1988, they created a family foundation which they dedicated to the memory of their family members lost during the Holocaust.

     The Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Foundation has created centers, laboratories, and endowments to meet the needs of vascular, diabetes, genetic and neuroscientific research at major medical institutions and universities around the globe. Examples of the Gondas' philanthropy include the Gonda (Goldschmied) Diabetes Research and Education Wing at Ben-Gurion University, the Gonda (Goldschmied) Medical Diagnostic Research Center and the Gonda (Goldschmied) Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University, the Gonda (Goldschmied) Vascular Centers at UCLA and the Mayo Clinic, The Gonda (Goldschmied) Center for Diabetes and Genetic Research at the City of Hope, the Mayo/Gonda (Goldschmied) Integration Center and the Gonda (Goldschmied) Neuroscience and Genetics Research Center at UCLA.

     Leslie and Susan Gonda believe that through education and advances in medicine, generations now and in the future will be able to meet the challenges of an increasingly competitive world and lead productive, meaningful lives. Through their generosity the Gondas are teaching their children and grandchildren the importance of charitable giving. Their leadership gift to UCLA ranks as one of the most significant contributions in the history of American philanthropy.