The Brown Institute for Brain Science receives a gift from Robert Carney & # 39; 61 and Nancy Carney, one of the largest single donations ever given to the University. According to a press release from the university, the BIBS will be renamed Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Brain Research Institute in honor of the donation.
President Christina Paxson P & # 19; said the gift of Carneys would be a "transformative" impact on the University's capabilities in brain science. The recently renamed Carney Institute will expand education opportunities and drive basic research, she added.
"Brain Science has been a jewel in Brown for years," Paxson said. While Associate Director of the Institute Christopher Moore agreed that the institute had long "had a national footprint and a size that was impressive," he emphasized that the Carneys gift make the university "one of the best places in the world" for brain research [1
"The present is not such that we can cure a single disease," Moore said. "What this gift will do is to draw the great discoveries that will cure these diseases, and it will create the environment in which they can be addressed at the deepest level."
Treatments for brain diseases remain elusive because the "basic mechanisms that explain why certain neurons die in these various diseases" are not fully understood, the Diane Lipscombe Institute said. The gift of the Carneys will enable the university to provide sustainable funding for research on "transforming discoveries and innovations into healing and treatment," she added.
The institute is already engaged in innovative research in the field of brain research, Lipscombe said. She pointed to the BrainGate project, which has been working to transfer function to people who are paralyzed by translating brain signals into control of a machine. This technology requires electrodes to be implanted on the surface of the brain, and additional funding from the Carneys gift will help BrainGate researchers to make these electrodes' smaller, less invasive, but still able to provide a rich amount of data for reading neural signals collect, "Lipscombe said.
Expanding research on "the neural code that underlies complex behavior" could also lead to a host of new discoveries, Lipscombe added. It expressed the possibility that BrainGate technology might one day be used for other applications such as vision restoration.
This is not the first time the Carneys have donated to the Institute. Moore said smaller gifts from the Carneys were "a big part of the institute's success leading up to this point." Lipscombe noted that Carney's latest gift far surpassed earlier funds raised by the institute. "In recent years, we've probably collected about $ 50 million for philanthropic donations to the institute," she said. "Having this as a single gift is quite extraordinary and quite effective."
Moore believes that the gift of the Carneys will allow a less limited exploration of new possibilities. "It does not let us be narrow, strategically focused and instead go where the ideas are," he said. Rather than focusing support on any research line, Moore added that the new funding will "continue to stimulate the most aggressive and creative and collaborative attack on what it means to study how the brain works."
Lipscombe noted that the interdisciplinary character of brain science fits in well with the university. "There is a great uniqueness in the way people here at Brown tackle and tackle major brain research issues – a very cooperative and inclusive approach," she said.
This collaborative process is fully demonstrated when the Carney Institute relocates to the fourth floor of the former Brown Office Building at 164 Angell Street following its renovation early next year. Lipscombe said the new labs would focus on developing computer approaches to understanding brain function and improving the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
"This allows us to make discoveries that will change the way we think about the brain, not just add to how we think about how the brain works," Moore said. "I think – absolutely – this gift will lead to great medical discoveries."