Brain science institute at Brown receives $100M gift

Brown University’s brain science institute has been given $100 million to advance the understanding of the brain and what causes Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The Ivy League university in Providence, Rhode Island, announced the donation from alumnus Robert Carney and his wife, Nancy, on Wednesday.

Institute Director Diane Lipscombe said she hopes the funding can be used to help figure out why neurons die in neurodegenerative disorders. Understanding the basic mechanisms of the brain could lead to cures and new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, she added.

“Our focus is at the early stage, what is going wrong and can we find ways to stop the degeneration,” said Lipscombe, a professor of neuroscience and president-elect of the Society for Neuroscience.

The Brown Institute for Brain Science will be named after the Carneys. Their donation will be used to recruit distinguished researchers, train the next generation of neuroscientists and fund early-stage, innovative research ideas.

Robert Carney, of Houston, founded Vacation Publications Inc., as well as a financial advisory firm and an airline holding company. He graduated from Brown in 1961. He said that he and his wife are excited to see the brain institute continue to grow and serve society in important ways.

The $100 million donation is one of the largest single gifts in the university’s history. Brown President Christina Paxson said that scientists worldwide are poised to solve some of the most important puzzles of the human brain and the gift “will give Brown the resources to be at the forefront of this drive for new knowledge and therapies.”

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