How do humans store and retrieve a lifetime of memories, recognize faces they’ve seen before, and communicate effectively with one another? Can we create artificial intelligence that truly mimics these abilities? How can we best address behavioral disorders and neurodegenerative diseases? A new $25 million gift to Brown will help researchers at the University’s Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science explore these and many other questions pertaining to brain function.
The generous gift from an anonymous donor will support research in computational brain science, enabling Brown to attract and retain world-class teachers and scholars. It will also endow an innovation awards program at the institute that will provide seed funding for emerging high-impact research in computation and other areas of brain science.
“This transformational gift recognizes the momentum that continues to build at Brown University, where our talented faculty are leading scientific discovery, including in the rapidly emerging specialty of computational brain science,” said Diane Lipscombe, director of the Carney Institute and a professor of neuroscience. “This gift will allow us to sustain a culture of innovation, which has led to an impressive number of discoveries and returned countless new grants to Brown that forge new areas of research.”
With more than 180 affiliated faculty members in 20 units and eight affiliated graduate programs, the Carney Institute is pursuing research that has real-life, human applications, Lipscombe said. Core areas of research include:
- investigation of cognition, behavior, and mood disorders;
- novel technologies to interface with the brain and restore lost functions; and
- advanced knowledge about the mechanisms of cell death to identify therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
This gift is part of the University’s $3 billion BrownTogether campaign, which has raised $2.74 billion to date. It builds upon significant philanthropic investment in Brown’s cutting-edge work in brain science — of the total contributed by donors to date, more than $187 million has been raised to support research and education in brain science, including the $100 million gift that named the institute in 2018.