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Zuckerman gives $200M to Columbia University, endows Mind Brain Behavior Institute

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mortimer B. Zuckerman has pledged $200 million to endow a Mind Brain Behavior Institute at Columbia University to support interdisciplinary neuroscience research and discovery by scholars across the university.

“This country has provided me with extraordinary opportunities, and I am glad for the chance to support scientific leadership in a field I believe is so essential to all our lives,” said Zuckerman. “With an inspiring team of neuroscientists at its core, Columbia’s Mind Brain Behavior Institute is not only researching vital questions about diseases of the brain, especially as we age, it is bringing together talented researchers across many academic fields to address the central questions we face as a society. At its root, this is an investment in accomplished scholars whose collective mission is both greater understanding of the human condition and the discovery of new cures for human suffering. I can hardly think of anything more important than that. I feel deeply privileged to participate in this path-finding venture.”

The Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute will build upon Columbia’s existing strengths in the biological and physical sciences, supplement its medical excellence, and coordinate its world-class neuroscience research communities on the Morningside Heights and Washington Heights campuses.

“On behalf of the University, I want to express our gratitude to Mort Zuckerman for this historic gift and also acknowledge the profound responsibility we have to marshal these resources to expand our knowledge of the mind, brain and human behavior,” said Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University. “His vision and generosity will help ensure that Columbia will be home to an enduring community of great scholars pursuing scientific exploration of the brain and human behavior, where the scale and variety of research will touch upon virtually every area of human endeavor and understanding.”

The Institute’s academic leadership and many of its principal investigators will be located within the 450,000 square foot Jerome L. Greene Science Center, now rising as the centerpiece of the University’s new Manhattanville campus. It will become the hub of cross-campus research on brain science, bringing together researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and other schools to collaborate on pioneering research in the neural sciences and a wide array of academic fields involving human behavior.

The Zuckerman Institute will pursue cutting-edge research in neurobiology and deeper insights into human mental functions in both health and disease. A key goal will be facilitating translational programs focused on new therapies and potential cures for disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and Asperger’s, schizophrenia and mood disorders, memory loss, neurotrauma and stroke, decision making, theoretical neuroscience, sensory perception and neural stem cell biology.

Over the next several years, through carefully planned recruitment, the Institute’s faculty will grow to 65 members plus a number of independent junior fellows and visiting scholars. At full strength, there will be 1,000 scientists and staff working across Columbia’s campuses.

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