A mission to end addiction

Real estate investor and venture capitalist Mark Pearson searched nationwide for a research institute making effective strides toward unraveling alcohol addiction—a disease that had affected both of his parents.

He was thrilled to discover Scripps Research was exploring the leading edge of this complex condition. More than most organizations, the institute was focusing on the neurobiology of the brain to understand addiction to alcohol and other drugs, as well as its role in relapse and sustained recovery.

Impressed, Pearson made an initial $3 million gift in 2003 to establish the Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research at the institute. Here, scientists complement traditional treatments for alcoholism with novel medicines that help normalize brain systems dysregulated from long-term substance abuse. They also investigate the therapeutic potential in deep brain stimulation, optogenetics, chemogenetics and even a vaccine that may help fight addiction and relapse. To guarantee that innovative research such as this moves forward, Pearson subsequently funded the Pearson Family Chair in alcohol and addiction research.

My gift,” he says, “is in memory of family members whom I lost to alcoholism and addiction.

With millions of families across the country suffering from the same chronic diseases, Pearson’s contribution to further scientific research is paving a path of hope.