Recognizing the impact of private philanthropy and the enormous potential of stem cell research to find a cure for diabetes, a disease that afflicts the youngest of his three children, Barry S. Sternlicht recently made a gift of $1 million to HSCI to establish the Sternlicht Director’s Fund for Graduate Students in Diabetes Research.
The gift will be used to underwrite the cost of three graduate students for four years each to work in HSCI’s Diabetes Research Program, which is headed by Gordon Weir, MD, of Joslin Diabetes Center. The award will be granted to students selected through a competitive review process by the HSCI Executive Committee as being the most promising candidates in the field of diabetes research.
“Barry’s generous support of these young researchers is absolutely critical to our success,” notes HSCI Scientific Co-Director Douglas A. Melton, PhD, head of one of the Diabetes Program’s two subgroups. “Stem cell research is the most promising type of science that may lead to a cure,” says Sternlicht, “and Doug Melton’s work is the most promising in the field.”
Sternlicht, an alumnus of Brown University and Harvard Business School, is chairman and CEO of the Starwood Capital Group, a private investment firm he formed in 1991. From 1995 through 2004, Sternlicht was chairman and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., which he founded in 1995. Starwood Hotels is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world. Sternlicht has devoted countless hours to supporting diabetes research over the past decade. For his efforts on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), for which he and his wife, Mimi, have helped raise millions of dollars, Sternlicht has received numerous national honors, including JDRF’s prestigious Man of the Year Award and the organization’s Living and Giving Award.