Rare Diseases

UMass Medical School gets $10M for rare-disease research

Grant Welker

Li Weibo, at left at table, has donated $10 million to the UMass Medical School for rare-disease research. He stood with UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael Collins Tuesday for an announcement of his gift.

The UMass Medical School received a $10-million donation for the study of rare diseases such as ALS, cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s.

The gift — one of the largest ever for the school — came from a Chinese businessman with no previous connection to UMass. Li Weibo said health research is one way in which his wants to give half of his money away over his life.

“This is just the beginning. I will continue my support,” Li said through Guanping Gao, a professor at the Medical School who acted as a translator.

Li’s donation will establish the Li Weibo Institute for Rare Disease Research at the medical school, which already has researchers working toward discoveries on some of the world’s rarest diseases. Li is also giving $750,000 a year to cover the costs of five…