Emory receives transformational grant to establish new Goizueta Institute @Emory Brain Health

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Nov. 19, 2021

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Jennifer Johnson McEwen
Director of Communications Emory Brain Health Center
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jrjohn9@emory.edu

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Dr. Allan Levey, founding director of the Goizueta Institute @Emory Brain Health and professor of neurology in the Emory University School of Medicine.

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The Goizueta Foundation has committed $50 million to Emory University to establish the Goizueta Institute @Emory Brain Health, renaming the landmark initiative announced in May 2021 as the Emory Brain Health Personalized Medicine Institute.

Led by Emory's world-class brain health clinical and research teams, the Goizueta Institute @Emory Brain Health will leverage the power of large-scale data collection and analysis with patients and the health care community to predict, prevent, diagnose and treat brain disease.

“Emory has been a leader in the development of science and technology for the prevention and treatment of brain disease. The Goizueta Foundation is proud to help bring these innovations into clinical practice to promote healthy aging,” says Olga Goizueta Rawls, board chair and CEO of The Goizueta Foundation.

“The Goizueta Institute @Emory Brain Health will shape the future of our search for solutions to the elusive diseases of the brain,” says Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves. “Neurodegenerative diseases, for too long, have been viewed as hopeless—just as cancer used to be. But with this milestone investment, Emory will deepen its focus on research and personalized, innovative care for patients. I am grateful to The Goizueta Foundation for their visionary support, which will enable Emory to continue taking a leading role in solving one of the greatest health challenges of our time.”

Over the last decade, philanthropic support from The Goizueta Foundation has been central to developing the Goizueta Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and the Emory Brain Health Center into globally-recognized leaders.

“We are deeply honored to receive this transformational grant from The Goizueta Foundation for this exciting new initiative,” says Allan Levey, MD, PhD, founding director of the Goizueta Institute @Emory Brain Health and professor of neurology in the Emory University School of Medicine.

According to Levey, discovering and accelerating ways to inform preventative medicine and creating personalized treatment strategies to make sure that drugs, procedures, and lifestyle interventions are effective for every patient are critical areas of focus for the new Institute. 

“This grant will provide foundational support to increase our understanding of the biological, medical and lifestyle factors impacting brain health and disease and promote new research approaches to improve patient care and ultimately prevent common brain diseases,” says Levey.

Converging research indicates that many neurological and psychiatric diseases share an early stage — beginning long before symptoms appear — when brain changes go undetected. This pre-symptomatic period holds prime opportunities for disease prediction and prevention, but researchers must first determine why some people develop symptoms while others do not. Genetics, education, diet, social determinants of health, lifestyle and other factors play shared roles, which means that studying brain diseases and providing care in silos keep disease prediction out of reach.

 “This generous grant will combine Emory’s strengths in clinical and discovery neuroscience to fuel the Goizueta Institute @Emory Brain Health’s trailblazing efforts to develop a new, data-driven approach to medicine. It will advance our understanding across the spectrum of brain health and ultimately transform the way we prevent and treat brain disease in order to improve lives and provide hope,” says Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, executive vice president for health affairs and Emory Healthcare CEO.

Key goals of the new Goizueta Institute @Emory Brain Health include:

  • Advance research to inform clinical care by standardizing assessments of brain function across brain diseases with shared symptoms and genetic causes.
  • Establish a repository for biospecimens to fuel development and application of next generation biomarkers.
  • Develop a data technology platform for integrating clinical and research data enabling advanced analytics.
  • Identify and diagnose brain disease at the earliest stage possible, optimize treatment, and ultimately prevent disease.

Early plans for the Goizueta Institute @Emory Brain Health include working collaboratively across teams in multiple areas including neurology, psychiatry, primary care and sleep medicine. The goal will be to recruit participants and receive their consent to collect data over a six-year period from the more than 50,000 unique patients seen annually at the Emory Brain Health Center.

Levey and colleagues say with news of breakthrough treatments for Alzheimer’s disease in the pipeline, the timing of the Goizueta Institute @Emory Brain Health is optimal. The Goizueta Institute @Emory Brain Health will initially focus on personalized medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, epilepsy, stroke, and depression.

Since 2014, The Goizueta Foundation has invested more than $54 million into Emory Brain Health’s trailblazing efforts to improve the lives of patients and better understand neurodegenerative disease. This grant brings that total to more than $100 million.

Levey is internationally recognized for his work in neurodegenerative disease and is The Goizueta Foundation Endowed Chair for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Betty Gage Holland Professor and Chair and director of the Goizueta Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Emory.  


About Brain Health at Emory University

As one of the nation’s premier research universities, Emory University is a leader in education, discovery and patient care related to the neurosciences. Faculty scholars, scientists, physicians and clinicians throughout the university collaborate on advancing knowledge associated with the brain and brain health. The Emory Brain Health Center combines neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, rehabilitation medicine and sleep medicine in a unique, integrated approach. Emory researchers are predicting, preventing, treating and curing diseases and disorders of the brain and addressing the growing global crisis associated with some of the most common ones. In addition, Emory’s neuroethics program explores the evolving ethical, legal and social impact of the neurosciences. Emory’s multidisciplinary approach is transforming the world’s understanding of the vast frontiers of the brain, harnessing imagination and discovery to address 21st-century challenges.