$106 million initiative will accelerate neuroscience research by embracing artificial intelligence, engineering, data science, other ‘nontraditional’ fields
Gift brings Weill Family Foundation philanthropic giving in neuroscience to over $300 million, enabling bold approaches to curing these diseases
Microscopy image showing the cytoskeleton within neurons, which are differentiating from induced pluripotent stem cells.UC San Francisco
With a $106 million gift from the Weill Family Foundation, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and the University of Washington have launched the Weill Neurohub, an innovative research network that will forge and nurture new collaborations between neuroscientists and researchers working in an array of other disciplines – including engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry and mathematics – to speed the development of new therapies for diseases and disorders that affect the brain and nervous system.
A 2016 study by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation estimated that, in the U.S. alone, neurological and psychiatric disorders and diseases – including Alzheimer’s; Parkinson’s; anxiety and depression; traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury; multiple sclerosis; ALS; and schizophrenia – carry an economic cost of more than $1.5 trillion per year, nearly 9 percent of GDP.
“The gains in knowledge amassed by neuroscientists over the past few decades can now be brought to the next level with supercomputers, electronic brain-computer interfaces, nanotechnology, robotics and powerful imaging tools,” said philanthropist Sanford I. “Sandy” Weill, chairman of the Weill Family Foundation. “The Neurohub will seize this opportunity by building bridges between people with diverse talents and training and bringing them together in a common cause: discovering new treatments to help the millions of patients with such conditions as Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness.”