Groundbreaking of the Falling Leaves Foundation Medical Innovation Building

May 17, 2023

UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Steve Goldstein, along with UCI supporters and community members, celebrated breaking ground on the Falling Leaves Foundation Medical Innovation Building on April 24. The newest construction project in the UCI Health Sciences District will expand the global reach and impact of the campus’ advanced, multidisciplinary teaching and basic and translational research achievements, and was made possible by the generous $30 million gift of Dr. Robert Mah and Dr. Adeline Yen Mah’s Falling Leaves Foundation. The festivities kicked off with Vice Chancellor Goldstein welcoming the gathering, which included the Mah family.

“A groundbreaking is appropriate first, because we are literally breaking ground and second, because we will use the Falling Leaves Foundation Medical Innovation Building to advance the frontiers of knowledge and health practices in ways that are groundbreaking,” Dr. Goldstein told the crowd. “What the Mah family has done by enabling the construction of this building will impact UCI, Orange County and human wellbeing for generations to come.” 

When complete, the Falling Leaves Foundation Medical Innovation Building will total 215,000 square feet, making it one of the largest buildings on the West Coast dedicated to basic and translational research and training. Plans include research programs and physical spaces intentionally designed to foster collaboration and a no-silos approach to investigation. 

“Falling Leaves Foundation Medical Innovation Building will be a hub where faculty, professional and graduate students, and undergraduates in the health sciences will work together in developing new ways of understanding disease and improving healthcare,” Chancellor Gillman said. “It will house programs that capitalize on work that crosses disciplinary boundaries and fosters collaboration not only with our healthcare system, UCI Health, but throughout the university as well as with industry to speed discoveries to our patients.”

Chancellor Gillman delivered a toast to the Mah family, saying that the “building that will rise here is a byproduct of an extraordinary couple and their family who understand the transformative power of knowledge creation and transmission in the health sciences.”  

“This building will create a unique atmosphere for opportunities unavailable at any other major university or program,” Robert Mah said. 

Adeline Mah said the family was honored and humbled to take part in the groundbreaking event. “The mission of the Falling Leaves Foundation is to promote education and research in the biological and medical sciences,” she said. “This building will be a perfect fit for the goals of our foundation.” 

A competitive proposal process is currently underway which will determine the research teams that will occupy the building. The Falling Leaves Foundation Medical Innovation Building  is expected to open mid 2025. 

Category: Construction Giving