The UCSB Alumni Association recently named Amgen founder William K. Bowes an honorary alumnus in recognition of his contributions to and involvement with various UCSB academic departments.

Bowes’ most recent contribution was a $5 million pledge to the research and development of stem cell therapies for the treatment of ocular diseases. Past contributions from Bowes and his wife Ute include establishing the George and Joy Rathmann Fellowships in the Division of Molecular, Life and Physical Science as well as the John Carbon Chair in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Additionally, they donated $3 million to the Ruth Garland Professorships and Directorship of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering.

According to biology professor William Smith, chair of the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Department, the Bowes’ donation will be a catalyst toward allowing researchers to make new discoveries.

“This is an exciting time for my department,” Smith said. “The extraordinarily generous gifts of Bill and Ute Bowes to UCSB will allow faculty and researchers in my department to accelerate the search for treatments for ocular disease. Stem cell based therapies have tremendous potential for treating a number of human conditions, and the support provided by the Garland Professorships, and most recently the Garland Initiative, will play a key role in the pursuit of new treatments.”

The funding of the Garland Initiative will also serve the newly created campus biomedical effort EMBODI — Engineering, Medicine, Biology, Discovery, Innovation. This collaborative program consists of a collection of various UCSB-based research groups and institutes that have undertaken a unified endeavor to draw attention to advancements in science on campus and educate the public on what this research could potentially mean for human health worldwide.

In addition to being a founding stockholder, Bowes served as the first chairman and treasurer of Amgen Inc. — one of the leading biotechnology companies in the human therapeutics industry. Bowes has worked as a venture capitalist in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost 50 years and is also a founding partner of Silicon Valley-based firm U.S. Venture Partners.



A version of this article appeared on page 3 of April 16th, 2013’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.