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Rosalind Franklin University Announces New Brain Science Institute

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science President Dr. K. Michael Welch and Executive Vice President for Research Dr. Ronald Kaplan announced today the formation of a new Brain Science Institute and three supporting research centers, all to be located in the university’s Innovation and Research Park. The new institute and centers highlight key areas of research conducted at the university related to major brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and anxiety disorders, in addition to brain stem cell research.

“We are creating a pathway and structure for enhanced collaboration with the bioscience industry,” said Dr. Kaplan. “Our expectation is that the Brain Science Institute and centers will create a synergistic environment for collaboration with the goal of accelerating the development of desperately needed diagnostics and therapeutics.”

Brain diseases impose massive costs in treatment for mental health and related physical illnesses, as well as reduced worker output and increased spending on criminal justice and related social services. According to a 2016 report issued by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, more than 50 million American adults — 21.8 percent of the country’s adult population — suffer each year from neurodegenerative diseases, mental illnesses including bipolar disorder and depression, and developmental disorders such as autism.

The new research institute and centers announced by Drs. Welch and Kaplan will include 14 core faculty aided by 34 graduate students and research support staff.

The institute and its three disease-focused centers will be led by some of the university’s top researchers:

  • The Brain Science Institute: Director Jeremy Amiel Rosenkranz’s research is focused in the area of neurophysiology of emotion and memory and modulation of synaptic integration. An associate professor in the Chicago Medical School Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, Rosenkranz joined Rosalind Franklin University in 2007 from Baylor College of Medicine and University of Texas-Austin, where he completed postdoctoral work. He earned both a Ph.D. and an M.S. in neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Therapeutics: Director Grace “Beth” Stutzmann has published important findings in the field of Alzheimer’s research and traumatic brain injury. An associate professor in the Chicago Medical School’s Department of Neuroscience, she earned a Ph.D. at New York University’s Center for Neural Science and an M.A. in biopsychology at Stony Brook University. She completed postdoctoral work at Yale University and the University of California-Irvine.
  • Center for Brain Function and Repair: Director William N. Frost has published extensively on how neural networks process information, store memory and generate behavior. Professor and chair of the Chicago Medical School Department of Cell Biology, he joined the university in 1998 from the University of Texas–Houston, where he was associate professor. He earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University and completed postdoctoral work at the University of Iowa. The university’s Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine led by Daniel Peterson, Ph.D., will form a part of this center.
  • Center for Stress Resilience and Psychiatric Disorders: Director Janice H. Urban’s seminal research focuses on stress as a major causal factor for a number of psychiatric problems, including anxiety disorders. Professor and Chair of the Chicago Medical School’s Department of Physiology and Biophysics, she earned a Ph.D. from Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics before pursuing postdoctoral research at the University of Washington and Northwestern University.

In addition to housing the Brain Science Institute and its research centers, the Innovation and Research Park, expected to open in summer 2019, will offer space for industry collaborations in key disease areas.

Posted February 8, 2018
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