The Giuliani Foundation Pledges Gift to Establish Endowed Faculty Support Fund

Date: August 8, 2023 By: Nick Kolev

The Ragon Institute is thrilled to announce the receipt of a generous gift from the Giuliani Foundation to establish the Giammaria and Sabrina Giuliani Endowed Faculty Support Fund — a permanent endowment that will support Ragon faculty who are pursuing research in human health and the immune system. The Giulianis’ exceptional contribution will fuel our ongoing endeavors at the Ragon Institute, as we continue to strive towards the advancement of immunology and global health.

“It is an honor to be able to support the Ragon Institute,” Giammaria Giuliani said. “Sabrina and I share a profound belief that their pioneering mission in harnessing the potential of the immune system through a cross-disciplinary approach will undoubtedly pave the way for a plethora of groundbreaking discoveries.“

Bruce Walker, MD, founding director of the Ragon Institute, expressed his deep gratitude for this donation.

“We have an extraordinary faculty, and this gift will serve in perpetuity to enable them to have an even greater impact on harnessing the immune system to prevent and cure human diseases,” he said. “We are enormously grateful for the Giuliani family’s vision, and are blessed to have them as partners as we tackle diseases of global importance.”

The initial recipients of this funding are Gaurav Gaiha, MD, DPhil, Krista Dong, MD, and Doug Kwon, MD, PhD.

Gaiha’s research focuses on developing a universal T-cell vaccine for HIV, a goal which this donation will bring closer to reality.

“I’m incredibly grateful to the Giuliani family for providing these generous funds for us to advance our T-cell vaccine efforts with the goal of attaining an HIV cure for individual patients, Gaiha said. “That is what this funding is helping us achieve.”

Kwon’s work focuses on the vaginal microbiome and designing novel HIV prevention strategies, while co-leading the Ragon’s work in South Africa with Dong and Thumbi Ndung’u, PhD, who are based full-time in Durban.

“We are immensely grateful to the Giuliani family for their extraordinary generosity in supporting the work of the Ragon Institute to improve global health, particularly in resource-limited settings,” Kwon said. “We thank them for sharing our vision of contributing to ending HIV and advancing women’s health in diverse regions.”

Dong is the clinical director of the FRESH Acute HIV cohort and Ndung’u is the director for Basic and Translational Science at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI). Under their leadership, this gift will enable the Ragon to conduct cutting-edge HIV prevention and cure-related research in the region of the world where it is most needed.

“Giammaria and Sabrina travelled all the way to South Africa to see firsthand what the Ragon has deemed mission critical in the fight toward a truly global HIV cure,” said Dong. “They stuck with us every step of the way, listening to stories of hardship and success and engaging in discussions about the future. Support like theirs is extraordinary.”

Giammaria Giuliani is an Italian entrepreneur with a diverse portfolio across healthcare, technology, finance, and real estate. He shares ownership of the family’s pharmaceutical company, Giuliani, founded by their great-grandfather in 1889.

As part of their philanthropic efforts, Giammaria and Sabrina established the Giuliani Foundation dedicated to advancing education and health as well as promoting economic wellbeing in developing countries.

The Foundation has funded a wide breadth of projects through their philanthropy — including the COVID-19 response in Italy, vocational training for young adults in developing countries, as well as research into medical conditions such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and HIV/AIDS, among other projects.

The Ragon Institute is deeply grateful for the support of the Giuliani Foundation with this gift that enables us to push boundaries further with our research.

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