Brown University gets $100 million to research the human brain, cure its diseases

Brown University’s Institute for Brain Science received a $100 million donation to support research on the human brain and find cures for its disorders and diseases, university officials said.

The gift is from alumnus Robert J. Carney, a Houston-based businessman, and his wife Nancy, the university announced. It is one of the largest gifts in the school’s history.

The institute will use the funds to “accelerate hiring of leading faculty and postdoctoral scholars in fields related to brain science, supply seed funding for high-impact new research, and also fund essential new equipment and infrastructure in technology-intensive areas of exploration,” Brown officials said.


Core research areas will include spinal injury and paralysis, psychiatric diseases, and computational neuroscience.

Institute director Diane Lipscombe said the donation can help researchers break new ground on decades-old neurological puzzles, such as why neurons die in neurodegenerative disorders, including ALS and Alzheimer’s.

The brain institute was established in 1999, and will be renamed the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science, Brown officials said.

Alana Levene can be reached at alana.levene@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alanalevene.