University of South Florida

$1 million gift to USF will advance lung research

The gift will fund USF Health research into pulmonary fibrosis

TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2021) — The University of South Florida announced Feb 17, 2021, a $1 million gift to the USF Foundation that will fund research to detect and prevent severe lung scarring. Philanthropist Timothy Ubben made the gift to support research at USF led by his doctor, Jose D. Herazo-Maya, USF Health’s newly appointed associate chief of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine.

“We can make a powerful impact when patients and physicians unite to bring big ideas to reality,” USF President Steve Currall said. “This generous gift will help the University of South Florida advance innovative testing and treatment of the toughest cases of devastating lung conditions, ultimately saving lives.”

“We are delighted with this confluence of vision, talent and philanthropy,” said Dr. Charles Lockwood, USF Health senior vice president and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. “The timing of Mr. Ubben’s gift is helping us to rapidly launch this important research to fight devastating lung conditions.”

Ubben founded Lincoln Capital Management, a successful Chicago-based investment firm, in 1967. Since retiring in 1999, he has dedicated his time, resources and expertise in board leadership to nonprofit and educational organizations.

“I have been discouraged in the lack of progress in alleviating pulmonary fibrosis in patients,” said Ubben. “This funding will support research to better understand and find assistance in the fight against this disease.”

“Certain patients with lung scarring can live well for years while others develop disease exacerbations and die quickly from the disease,” said Dr. Herazo, who also described Ubben as a good friend. “Tim is intellectually curious and has good knowledge about medical research and clinical trials — I enjoy talking with him about science and ways to improve disease.”

While at Yale, Dr. Herazo served on a team that discovered a gene signature in blood that predicted mortality from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). He now leads a USF Health research team working to develop a blood test based on gene expression that will help identify patients at risk of severe disease before they clinically deteriorate.

“Mr. Ubben’s generous gift is providing hope and momentum in the fight against pulmonary disease,” said USF Foundation CEO Jay Stroman. “The potential benefit this donor-funded research could have on health care systems everywhere is astounding.”

Dr. Herazo, who joined USF Health last month, is already putting Ubben’s gift to work as he outfits the Ubben Family Pulmonary Research Laboratory in the new USF Health Heart Institute space in downtown Tampa. He is building a research team including other USF physician scientists, biostatisticians, clinical and basic scientists.

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