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In the largest capital gift to the "Making History" fund-raising campaign, Anne and Jerome Fisher announced a $50 million donation to the University Tuesday for the establishment of the Anne and Jerome Fisher Translational Research Center.

"Anne and I love Penn and we have long felt that investing in this world-class university is investing in the future of humankind itself," said Jerome Fisher to Penn Communications.

Scheduled to open in 2010, the new center will be designed by an international firm, Rafael Vinoly Architects PC, with the intent to facilitate collaboration - an important element of translational research.

An interdisciplinary effort, translational research works to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical research.

"Our strategic plan has always emphasized translational research as the key for what an academic institute like ours can do," said Arthur Rubenstein, dean of the School of Medicine and executive vice president of Penn's Health System.

The project will be directly adjacent to the two new outpatient-care facilities - the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine and the Roberts Proton Therapy Center.

"We hope that the scientists and the doctors will all intermingle in the physical space very closely so that ideas will [be communicated between them]," Rubenstein said.

According to University President Amy Gutmann, the donation represents a "transformational gift which will further position Penn at the forefront of bench-to-bedside medicine."

With this 400,000 square-foot increase in research space, Rubenstein hopes to see many new projects underway to help combat the "big diseases," most notably cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and neurological disorders.

The Fisher's gift is one of the largest in Penn's history.

Jerome Fisher, a 1953 Wharton graduate, and his wife both have been active members of the Penn community. They have donated $14 million to date toward renovations and the establishment of the Fisher Program in Management and Technology and the Anne Fisher Graduate Fellowship.

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