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Gift Funds L. Nelson Hopkins III, M.D. Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery

William A. Schreyer gives gift in honor of Buffalo's medical pioneer

By Sue Hofmann

Release Date: December 6, 2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Inspired by the work of internationally known pioneering neurosurgeon L. Nelson "Nick" Hopkins III, M.D., the chairman emeritus of Merrill Lynch and Co. has made a gift of $1.5 million to the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to establish an endowed fund to name a neurosurgery chair in honor of the distinguished physician.

"Dr. Hopkins is a medical pioneer in the areas of endovascular surgery, stroke prevention and treatment, and I cannot think of a better way to honor his contributions to medicine and the Western New York community than to create the endowed chair in neurosurgery," said William A. Schreyer, a noted philanthropist who has made transformational gifts to higher education and health care.

Hopkins, who will be the first professor to hold the chair, is a professor and chair in the UB Department of Neurosurgery and director of UB's Toshiba Stroke Research Center, one of the leading stroke research centers in the world.

A native son, born and raised in Buffalo, he returned to Western New York to begin his practice after graduating from Albany Medical College in 1969.

Hopkins, who also is chief of neurosurgery for Kaleida Health, has built a renowned career at the UB medical school. His translational research is cited extensively in publications and he has presented at numerous international lectures and has held many visiting professorships.

"Dr. Hopkins personifies the three-pronged focus of research, teaching and compassionate patient care, gaining international recognition for his hometown accomplishments," said Michael Cain, dean of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "The L. Nelson Hopkins III, M.D. Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery will recognize his role in creating a legacy of teaching and research that reflects the school's past, present and future."

In 1996, Hopkins secured a $3.6 million gift of equipment and support services from Toshiba to create a major, interdisciplinary stroke research center unmatched in the world in technology and sophistication. Additionally, funds exceeding $10 million have also been obtained by the center, generating local jobs and immeasurable research discoveries and output.

Today, he heads a department that is the lead site for a new FDA-approved study researching stroke intervention. His department recently became the first in the nation to receive FDA approval for a trial use of intracranial stenting for strokes. The FDA invited the Cleveland Clinic to partner with Hopkins's team on this pioneering clinical trial.

"Endowed faculty positions enable UB to attract and retain the best and brightest researchers in the field, strengthen our recruitment efforts, provide seed money to enhance the development of new technologies and research trials and help the school to realize its goal of being recognized as a top-tier, nationally ranked medical school," said Cain.

"At UB, we have had preeminent neurosurgical expertise here for five decades and this chair will allow us to leverage the reputation of Dr. Hopkins and the existing Toshiba Stroke Research Center to attract additional multi-million-dollar grants and recruit exceptional physicians and faculty to UB."

Hopkins' research is particularly topical to the Buffalo Niagara region. This area has the dubious distinction of being the "stroke capital of the nation," a fact attributed to its aging, obese and ethnic population. The UB medical school has spent generations addressing the country's third-leading killer, behind only heart disease and cancer, and the number one cause of adult disability.

The school's commitment to research, teaching and compassionate patient care, particularly in the area of neurosurgery, has benefited the Western New York community enormously. In addition to being home to one of the leading stroke research centers in the world, it owns an international reputation for the quality of its academic programs and research output.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York. The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and School of Public Health and Health Professions are the five schools that constitute UB's Academic Health Center. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.