Vancouver philanthropist Djavad Mowafaghian has donated $15-million to establish a new centre for the study of brain health at UBC — the largest donation ever made to UBC's Faculty of Medicine.

"I was attracted to the UBC Faculty of Medicine for the research it conducts and its efforts to find cures for brain disorders affecting children," said Mowafaghian, whose decision to support the project became more personally meaningful after he suffered a stroke last April.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 14,000 Canadians die from stroke every year. It is the leading cause of long-term disability in adults in the world.

"The brain has been referred to as the last frontier of medicine. I hope that my gift will enable doctors and researchers to reach that frontier," he said.

The facility will be named the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. It also received $25 million from the Province of British Columbia, $15 million from Industry Canada's Centres of Excellence in Commercialization and Research program, $17 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the BC Knowledge Development Fund, and $5 million from the Townsend Family, according to UBC.

Mowafaghian was born in Iran in 1927 and ran a large contracting company there. He emigrated to Vancouver in the 23 years ago and created a philanthropic foundation which has funded projects in B.C. and Iran.