Maren Foundation supports faculty, research and students at UF

The Thomas H. Maren Foundation continues to impact the University of Florida by supporting several programs.

The Thomas H. Maren Foundation continues to impact the University of Florida by supporting several programs-quite a few at the College of Medicine where Thomas Maren, MD, spent the majority of his career.

Recent gifts from the foundation will enable emerging scientists to conduct world-class research, provide new ways to look at treating human brain diseases, and support faculty research in the development of cancer treatments.

A $1 million donation in February to UF’s Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute, supports “The Regeneration Project,” which will connect scientists who work with adult human stem cells with scientists who study how tissues and limbs develop in a variety of organisms.

“The Regeneration Project will focus on unlocking the mysteries in living, simple organisms that sustain successful tissue and organ regeneration following injury and disease, and then applying this knowledge toward encouraging repair in the more complex human, where regeneration is not so simple,” said Dennis Steindler, PhD, executive director of the McKnight Brain Institute.

An earlier gift of more than $2.3 million made in October, which is eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match by the state of Florida, supports two major endowments: the Thomas H. Maren, M.D. Junior Investigators Research Fund and the Thomas H. Maren, M.D. Eminent Scholar Chair in Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Added to the previously established Maren Professorship is $1 million plus state match to create the eminent scholar chair, which will provide financial support for a faculty member to facilitate research and development of new treatments in cancer. And $1,350,000 is designated to create a research endowment that supports junior investigators with the talents and inclinations to pursue careers of scientific discovery. The fund will provide junior faculty, postdoctoral or clinical fellows and/or medical students with research support and laboratory start-up funds.

“The University of Florida afforded the environment in which my husband and his work were able to thrive,” said Emily Sabah-Maren, Thomas Maren’s widow. “The Maren Foundation strongly feels that these endowments will strengthen that type of environment for scientists and students of all ages and in all stages of their careers.”

Maren spent most of his career, much of it in basic scientific research, at the College of Medicine. He was a founding faculty member and chair of the department of pharmacology and therapeutics for 22 years, and a graduate research professor. He gained international recognition for his pioneering investigation of an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase and its role in fluid production and flow in the eyes, brain, spinal cord and lymph system. His research led to the development of Trusopt, an important drug for the treatment of glaucoma. Maren died at his home in Bar Harbor, Maine in 1999.

Other recent gifts from the Maren Foundation include $600,000 for College of Nursing fellowships and for the Health Care for All Education Fund (that supports programs at community practice sites), funds to further endow the Thomas H. Maren Medical Student Reading Room and endow the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities as well as the Marvelous Explorations Through Science and Stories (MESS) project at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

The Thomas H. Maren Foundation also recently contributed to the newly created Florida Opportunity Scholarships program, which provides scholarships for “first generation” college students with family income under $40,000 a year.