|Jacobs Retina Center
La Jolla resident and University of California, San Diego donor
Marc Paskin recently starred in the second installment of ABC’s new
reality series “Secret Millionaire,” which aired on Sunday, March 13. On
the show Paskin traveled to Detroit to spend a week volunteering with
local charities, not revealing his identity until the final day when he
gave away nearly $125,000 to the organizations with which he worked.
Prior to his debut on “Secret Millionaire,” Paskin had been quietly
giving to several organizations, including more than $1.3 million to UC
San Diego’s Department of Ophthalmology at the Shiley Eye Center and the
Joan and Irwin Jacobs Retina Center.
Paskin, who built a successful career in real estate and
currently heads Paskin Properties in San Diego, became acquainted with
the Shiley Eye Center when his wife, Marsha, started having problems
with her eyesight. Marsha Paskin suffered from diabetes, which had
debilitating effects on her vision, progressing towards blindness.
Thanks to retinal surgery at the Shiley Eye Center, her eyesight was
saved and corrected to 20/20 vision.
“Marc saw firsthand how detrimental diabetes and other diseases can be
to the eye, and what a frightening experience that can be for an
otherwise functioning person,” said Dr. William Freeman, professor of
ophthalmology at UC San Diego and director of the Jacobs Retina Center.
“After his wife passed away, Paskin felt compelled to help.”
Paskin’s initial gift of $1 million to the Shiley Eye Center
provided critical funding for the 2006 expansion of the center, enabling
it to meet increasing patient demand and burgeoning research
activities. In recognition of his generosity, a clinic in the expanded
facility is dedicated to the late Marsha Paskin.
In addition to supporting clinical services, Paskin gave more
than $300,000 to the Jacobs Retina Center — the only freestanding retina
research center in the United States — to fund cutting-edge research of
retinal diseases that cause blindness and vision loss, including
diabetic retinopathy. With a team of internationally recognized
scientists, the center is developing new drug therapies, improving
surgical techniques and technologies, and using gene therapy to restore
Currently, Paskin’s gift is supporting a number of exciting
research projects, including a groundbreaking project to develop an
artificial retina. The project is a collaborative effort between the
Jacobs Retina Center and the Jacobs School of Engineering to develop
photosensitive nanowires, which are similar to rods and cones found in
the human eye and have the potential to restore eyesight in patients
with certain retinal diseases.
Also supported by Paskin’s gift, researchers at the Jacobs Retina Center and the department of chemistry are developing a new system for injecting drugs into the eye. While current treatment for difficult retinal diseases require monthly injections, this new system — based on silicon particles — would reduce the number of injections needed to one or two per year.