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Kavli Foundation names new board members [Ventura County Star, Calif. :: ]
[April 06, 2014]

Kavli Foundation names new board members [Ventura County Star, Calif. :: ]

(Ventura County Star (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 07--A president of a leading research university. Leader of the Carnegie Institution for Science. A finance executive with an engineering background.

The Oxnard-based Kavli Foundation has added three board members to help guide it after the loss of its founder and chairman, Fred Kavli, late last year.

Kavli, of Santa Barbara, died Nov. 21. He was 86 and had a rare form of cancer.

Soon after, longtime Kavli board member Charles Vest, former president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also died.

"It was very difficult to lose either of them," said Kavli President and CEO Robert Conn in an interview last week. "To lose them within three weeks of each other was very painful for all involved." Looking ahead, the remaining five members of the board of directors have appointed Mary Sue Coleman, Richard Meserve and Gunnar Nilsen, who bring back multiple viewpoints to their discussions, Conn said.

"They are extraordinary people, and I think it speaks volumes for the future of the foundation," he said.

Coleman, a biochemist, was appointed president of the University of Michigan in 2002. She was president of the University of Iowa from 1995 to 2002.

Meserve became president of the Carnegie Institution in 2003 after stepping down as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Kavli officials said. He has a doctoral degree in applied physics from Stanford University and a law degree from Harvard University.

Nilsen, Kavli's nephew, has a master's degree in electrical engineering and cybernetics from Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the foundation reported. Nilsen, president of a business and financial consulting firm, also has a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University.

Meet the board Kavli, a Norwegian-born physicist, founded the organization to advance science in 2000 after he sold his Moorpark-based Kavlico Corp. He set up the foundation to continue in perpetuity, providing funding through a trust.

Initially based in Van Nuys, the company moved to Moorpark in 1986 and became one of the largest suppliers of sensors for aeronautic, automotive and industrial applications.

In 2001, UC Santa Barbara became one of the first recipients of a Kavli Foundation grant, establishing the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. The foundation now has Kavli institutes of science worldwide.

Those efforts continue, as do other projects like the foundation's work related to the BRAIN Initiative, a project championed as a grand challenge by President Barack Obama last year.

More about the BRAIN Initiative The project is designed to increase understanding of the brain and help researchers find new ways to treat, cure and prevent brain disorders.

Kavli is one of several private sector partners in the project and helped bring scientists together several years ago to outline plans to develop a detailed map of the brain.

As federal agencies move forward and seek research proposals, Miyoung Chun, Kavli's executive vice president of science programs, said the foundation also has continued its efforts to bring scientists together.

"The nature of brain research cannot be done by one scientist," Chun said. It takes a lot of dialogue.

Along with campus coffee hours to help spur discussions among students and professors, the foundation is working with others on a pilot project to help labs and scientists share data around the world.

Such a project will help anyone with a good idea be in a position to make discoveries, Chun said. "That will really capture all the great minds around the world." ___ (c)2014 Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.) Visit Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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