Longtime USC supporters Bobbie and Mike Bozick recently gave $100,000 to USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center to fund purchase of a sophisticated piece of equipment to be used in a project that is investigating the causes of melanoma and seeks to better predict survival.

The device, a Covaris M220, uses high frequency sound waves to shatter DNA that is gently resting in a water bath, an important step in the process that scientists are using to piece together clues about what drives cancer cells to grow uncontrollably.

Mike Bozick, a 1960 graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business, and his wife, Bobbie, own a grape, citrus and vegetable company based in Riverside County. Their children, Nicholas Bozick and Cynthia Bozick Beteta, are both USC graduates who now work for the family business in Mecca, CA.

The Bozicks devotion to USC Norris includes hosting of a recurring cancer research event that has been held for many years at the Indian Wells Country Club near Palm Springs.

“We are extremely honored and grateful to Mike and Bobbie Bozick for their belief in our efforts to conquer cancer and provide compassionate care to our patients,” said Stephen B. Gruber, MD, PhD, MPH, the director of USC Norris.

The Genes, Environment and Melanoma Project is led by Gruber. Research scientists Kevin J. McDonnell, MD, PhD, Asaf Maoz, MD, and Marilena Melas, a PhD student, will process samples from more than 600 melanoma patients who previously contributed melanoma biopsies and shared their sun exposure history with the USC investigators.

Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, and more than 73,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma this year. About 10,000 will die from the disease.

— Carmy Peters