Paul Terasaki, professor emeritus of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, recently received a lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles-based University Kidney Research Organization for his work in science and medicine.

The University Kidney Research Organization, which began in 2002 in Los Angeles, raises money to fund research for kidney disease.

The organization’s members – a group of doctors, professionals and researchers – hold a gala about once every two years to recognize leaders in the community and to build support for kidney disease research, said Ken Kleinberg, founder and president of the organization.

This year, the organization chose to award Terasaki the Lifetime Achievement in Science and Medicine Award, recognizing him at its gala last week.

Past honorees of the organization in various fields include Carmen Puliafito, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, and Natalie Cole, a singer, songwriter and performer.

Terasaki was chosen by the organization’s board members for his contributions to kidney research as well as his exceptional character, said Kleinberg, a UCLA alumnus.

Kleinberg added that the way Terasaki goes about his work and the ways in which he has shown courage in his life, overcoming the difficulties of a Japanese internment camp and rising to become a great physician and scientist, made the decision unanimous.

Terasaki, also a UCLA alumnus, developed an international standard for tissue typing that has been used to coordinate donations of all kinds for donors and recipients since 1964.

He has had a relationship with UCLA for over 50 years and donated $50 million to the College of Letters and Science in 2010 – much of which went to the construction of a second Life Sciences Building with modern laboratories which opened in October of that year.

“(The board honors) people that (it thinks) are worthy, that have contributed to the community, and in the case of people in the world of medicine, people who have an outstanding record in that area,” Kleinberg said. “Dr. Terasaki is one of them.”

Terasaki could not be reached for comment about the award.

Compiled by Alessandra Daskalakis, Bruin senior staff.