Campus Expansion Updates: UCLA Downtown Programming; UCLA Research Park’s New Special Advisor for Immunology Initiatives

March 6, 2024

Dear Bruin Community:

It has been an exciting time for our university as we have grown our footprint to include UCLA Downtown, the UCLA Research Park and UCLA South Bay. Activities are underway at each site that will help deepen our institution’s impact and that serve the goals outlined in Creating the Future: UCLA Strategic Plan 2023–28. You can read more about our progress against these goals in a newly launched timeline of major plan milestones.

Following up on our November update on campus expansion, we are pleased to share several new developments taking shape across UCLA’s newest sites:

UCLA Downtown

After reviewing many wonderful submissions, the UCLA Downtown Programming Committee has selected 31 proposals for collaborative uses of our new space that will advance campus goals and create a vibrant, community-engaged downtown Los Angeles hub for UCLA.

Spanning academic, arts, community outreach and research themes, the approved programs range from the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Institute’s Voting Rights Project to year-round public arts programming curated by UCLA’s world-class arts organizations to a downtown presence for the UCLA Center for LGBTQ+ Advocacy, Research & Health. Each program was selected for its elements of community-engaged research, teaching and service — and its potential to make a positive difference for Bruins and Angelenos.

We are thrilled that this initial cohort of programs will engage members of the local community, position UCLA as a trusted leader and collaborator in our global city and have a substantial impact that will be felt downtown and far beyond. You can read more on UCLA Newsroom about the first several programs moving in and view descriptions of all selected proposals (PDF). A second call for proposals for UCLA Downtown will open in fall 2024, with programs moving in on a rolling basis.

We offer sincere thanks to Professor of History, Chicana/o and Central American Studies and Urban Planning Eric Avila — chair of the UCLA Downtown Programming Committee and a celebrated historian of Los Angeles who has deep roots in the city — as well as the other members of the committee for their work reviewing proposals for use of space in the building.

UCLA Research Park

With the goal of creating an engine of innovation, discovery and economic growth for Southern California and beyond, we are currently meeting with potential industry collaborators and determining space and construction needs for the UCLA Research Park. The research park, formerly the site of the Westside Pavilion mall, will house the California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy at UCLA and the UCLA Center for Quantum Science and Engineering, as well as programs across the disciplines.

To help advance the establishment of the immunology and immunotherapy institute, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Owen Witte — professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA — as special advisor to the executive vice chancellor and provost for immunology initiatives.

In this capacity, Dr. Witte will convene and lead a cross-disciplinary group of campus experts to serve as an Immunology Advisory Committee, collaborating with the institute’s founders to plan the programs for the institute and our scholars’ role within it. The committee will also assess important gaps in research expertise and propose a hiring initiative to fill those gaps.

A professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, Dr. Witte holds the President’s Chair in Developmental Immunology and is director emeritus of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. Among his many distinguished career achievements, Dr. Witte has made significant contributions to the understanding of human leukemias, immune disorders and epithelial cancer stem cells. He was a strong advocate for science education funding during his 15-year tenure as founding director of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center, and he created strategic partnerships that enabled collaborative and multidisciplinary groups of clinicians, scientists and engineers to pursue breakthrough research with the shared goal of improving human health.

We greatly look forward to working with Dr. Witte in this new role, and are deeply grateful for his service to the campus, in this capacity and in many other critical areas throughout his impactful career.

UCLA South Bay

UCLA South Bay’s implementation committee — charged with executing on academic programs and course offerings related to themes of sustainability, climate change and environmental justice and ensuring physical spaces are ready for use — had its inaugural meeting in January. We look forward to sharing additional updates as they develop on the instructional side. In the meantime, the campus will continue to host extra-curricular and co-curricular programming, meetings and conferences for the UCLA community. This summer, Student Affairs will again host leadership academies for undergraduates, and UCLA Extension will begin offering classes on campus.

We are energized by these latest developments as UCLA continues to grow and deepen its engagement and impact across Los Angeles. We appreciate the campus community’s support and participation in these efforts.


Gene D. Block

Darnell Hunt
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost