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Brain Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College Created with $28M Gift

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Weill Cornell Medical College on Tuesday announced the creation of an institute that seeks to translate neuroscience research into treatment for patients.

The institute, Called the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute, was created with a $28 million gift from the family of Gertrude and Louis Feil, benefactors of the college, and it will leverage advances in genomics, genetics, and other technologies to carry out its goal, Weill Cornell said.

The facility is expected to open at the end of 2013.

Constantino Iadecola has been named its director. Iadecola is also the Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell and a neurologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The overarching goal of the institute is to move research discoveries from the laboratory to the patient bedside, Weill Cornell said, and as part of that goal, it will develop personalized therapeutic solutions for patients who have neurological diseases ranging from Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease to stroke and multiple sclerosis. In addition, researchers will study brain development disorders, pain addiction, and neuroimmunological diseases.

A cornerstone of the institute will be research being conducted at the Appel Alzheimer's Disease Research Institute at Weill Cornell.

Scientists at the new institute will perform research aimed at developing novel therapeutics that will be tested in "cutting edge" clinical trials. Investigations will also be conducted to enhance current treatments and "to truly bridge the current gap in translational medicine," Weill Cornell said.

The institute will tap into advances in genomics, genetics, epigenetics, metabolomics, neuroimaging, computational biology, and bioinformatics technology, as well as biomarkers, for the early detection of disease and then intervention. New preventive strategies will also be investigated to identify how individual risk factors may increase the chances of developing brain disease.

Additionally, studies into how co-morbidities, such as hypertension and metabolic diseases, affect brain health will be conducted, Weill Cornell said.

Work will also be directed at elucidating the neurobiological substrates of learning and memory, as well as disorders of consciousness, such as coma, persistent vegetative state, and the minimally conscious state.

"There is a rising tidal wave of age-related brain diseases striking our maturing population, especially the 77 million Baby Boomers who will all need care for age-related brain diseases at the same time," Iadecola said in a statement. "Brain and mind diseases are a growing health challenge worldwide and a major contributor to loss of life and severe disability. By bridging the translational bench-to-bedside gap, the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute promises to have a transformative impact on current care paradigms and change the landscape of neuroscience medicine."

The Feil gift will be used to recruit four to six "top-tier" scientists; purchase equipment; train post-docs, fellows, and clinicians; and create scholarships for medical students, among other uses.

In addition to the Feil gift, the Leon Levy Foundation has provided a $1.5 million grant to train and develop future translational neuroscientists at the center, Weill Cornell said.

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