Gonda "Goldschmied" Family

The Gonda (Goldschmied) Neuroscience and Genetics Research Center is home to the UCLA Brain Research Institute and the Department of Human Genetics. Since it opened in 1998, this state-of- the-art facility has served to maximize creative neuroscience and genetics research at UCLA and attract outstanding young scientists to lead research forward through the 21 st  century.

Currently occupied by 30 faculty, 21 innovative laboratories and 2 core facilities, the Gonda center incorporates an array of cutting edge research technology allowing basic science investigations that advance understanding of the brain, and translate findings into medical research strategies that impact treatments for human disease. In 2016 alone, faculty based in the Gonda center generated over 150 journal publications validating the impact and importance of their scientific investigations.

The Gonda center’s existence is the result of the vision and generosity of Leslie and Susan Gonda. The Gondas’ $45 million gift is one of the largest donations from an individual benefactor in the history of UCLA and one of the largest ever received by the University of California.

As Leslie Gonda explained, he and Susan were born in Hungary. After escaping from the Komarom forced labor camp in 1944, Leslie took the name Gonda in order to escape Hitler’s tyranny. Susan survived internment at Auschwitz. After the war was over, they married in Switzerland, and created a new life for their growing family in Venezuela and later in Los Angeles.

In 1988, the Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Foundation was created as a dedication to the memory of family members lost during the Holocaust. The Foundation has established centers, laboratories and endowments to meet the needs of vascular, diabetes, genetic and neuroscience research at major medical institutions around the globe.

Leslie and Susan Gonda believed that through education and advances in medicine, generations now and in the future will be able to meet the challenges of an increasingly competitive world and lead productive, meaningful lives. Through their generosity, the Gondas created a family legacy of charitable giving. Their leadership gift to UCLA ranks as one of the most significant contributions in the history of American philanthropy. Susan passed away in 2009 and Leslie in 2018.