New Brain Science Facility At UCSF

The University of California in San Francisco today unveils newly approved plans to build a neuroscience building on its Mission Bay campus. It will house several basic research programs seeking cures for intractable neurological disorders.

Funding approval was granted yesterday by University of California Board of Regents.

The new facility will provide a shared space for clinicians, clinician-researchers and basic scientists to accelerate advances against such disorders as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, migraine, epilepsy, autism, mental retardation and cerebral palsy.

“This culminates a 10-year dream,” says Nobel laureate Stanley B. Prusiner, MD, director of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases. “This building will bring together some of the best scientists in the world to work on these very prevalent diseases of the brain. The opportunity for major progress is tremendous.”

“UCSF Mission Bay will be one of the biggest neuroscience complexes in the world.”

“This building exemplifies UCSF’s commitment to discovery, education and patient care,” says UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH. “It represents my vision for UCSF. In the face of these challenging financial times, it is imperative that we maintain our strategic vision and continue our leadership role in tackling the world’s devastating diseases.”

“We have an unprecedented opportunity with this building to establish a Manhattan project-like approach for moving in on these devastating neurological disorders,” says Stephen L. Hauser, MD, chair of the Department of Neurology.

“Clinicians treating patients with neurological conditions, clinician-researchers carrying out brain imaging and drug studies in patients, scientists studying the molecular and cellular basis of diseases, and scientists studying how the brain normally functions will be able to share their expertise, brainstorm, collaborate.”

“Ultimately, we want to be able to stop disease progression, repair damage that has already occurred and prevent disease from occurring in the first place,” he says.

“In MS, we’re currently planning the first clinical study to see if it can be halted before it begins.”

And in reading the press release, here is where I started to notice the emphasis on drug interventions and the absence of mention that San Francisco is also a hub for interventions that don’t require drugs, such as brain training!

** Collaborations with Silicon Valley, the biotech industry and the pharmaceutical industry will be key to this effort, Hauser says. Equally critical, he says, will be cultivating the next generation of neuroscience investigators and inspiring careers in translational medicine. **

The world-class neuroscientists of the Keck Center, whose studies of brain function have shed light on how the human brain learns and remembers, how it sees, hears, moves the body’s limbs, and feels pain, will add another dimension to the research conducted in the building. Pioneers in the study of the brain’s “plasticity,” or capacity to change, these scientsts focus on how brain cells work together to generate behaviors. Their intent is to learn enough about these processes that the brain could be taught to repair itself in patients born with disabilities, such as autism, or afflicted with disorders such as neurodegenerative diseases or stroke.

“Our goal in moving to this building is to help our colleagues understand how the brain works when it’s functioning well and for us to discover what happens in the whole system when brain function fails at the level of molecules and cells,” says Allison J. Doupe, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist and senior neuroscientist at the Keck Center.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.