A grateful patient has gifted University of California, San Diego $6.5 million to establish the Richard C. Atkinson Laboratory for Regenerative Ophthalmology at the university’s Shiley Eye Center.

The new lab is designed to study ways to engineer new tissue, investigate cell replacement therapies and work to reverse vision loss and blindness, UC San Diego said. It will team up with the newly created Sanford Clinical Stem Cell Center at the university, which was formed in later 2013 with a $100 million donation from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.

The donor, who remains anonymous, chose to name the laboratory after Richard Atkinson, who served as president of the University of California system statewide between 1995 and 2003, and served for 15 years as UC San Diego’s chancellor. He is a former director of the National Science Foundation.

The lab will be overseen by Robert Weinreb, chairman and distinguished professor of ophthalmology at UC San Diego.