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By Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News
The USAA Foundation has made a $3 million donation to fund neurosciences research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Proceeds will be used to endow The USAA Foundation President's Distinguished University Chair in Neurosciences.
The chair will help recruit and retain international leaders and promote interdisciplinary discovery in neurosciences research, UTHSC said in a statement.
USAA President and CEO Joe Robles Jr. said recruiting and retaining outstanding scientists and clinicians are crucial to UTHSC's efforts to achieve pre-eminence.
"We want to compete to bring the best and brightest to San Antonio, where they can make a difference for our community and the world," Robles said in the center's statement.
Kenneth Hargreaves, a professor and chairman of endodontics at UTHSC's dental school and a researcher, has been selected as the first holder of the chair endowed by the foundation. Endodontists specialize in root-canal treatment and saving teeth.
Hargreaves has been involved in research that could lead to a new class of nonaddictive painkillers to treat those who suffer severe and chronic pain, including burn victims and cancer patients.
"Our research is on the verge of a significant breakthrough," Hargreaves said in the statement. "A gift like the one The USAA Foundation has made lifts us all and spurs the field forward. It will certainly be transformative in advancing my work and the efforts of our entire team."
UTHSC has $55 million in annual research funding devoted to neurosciences research.
The $3 million donation is not The USAA Foundation's largest. Its largest single donation was for $3.4 million and went to the United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County in 2011.
UTHSC received more than $300,000 from the foundation in the foundation's fiscal year ended June 30, 2011. Overall, the foundation gave more than $8.8 million that year.