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Welcome: From Executive Director Tetsuo Ashizawa

Tetsuo AshizawaNothing depicts the wonder of life quite like the human brain.

With more than 100 billion neurons, there are more cells within the brain than there are stars in the galaxy. These cells talk to one another across electro-chemical connections with astonishing clarity and precision, endowing people with intelligence, creativity and physical prowess far surpassing that of even the most complex machines.

Simply put, the brain is essential to our existence.

Understanding the brain is the passion of the scientists at the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida. Helping people with neurological disorders and age-related memory loss is their purpose.

The guiding principal behind the creation of a Brain Institute at the University of Florida was to harness and expand the enormous research, clinical care and educational capacity of the entire university with the sole purpose of maximizing efforts to understand and cure nervous system afflictions.

On Oct. 22, 1998, the Brain Institute officially opened its doors.

Later, in 2000, the McKnight Brain Research Foundation made what was then the largest single private donation in UF’s history. With state matching funds, it created a $30 million endowment devoted to fundamental research exploring the mechanisms and treatment of non-Alzheimer’s age-related memory loss.

Today, in its third generation of leadership, the chairs of the four NeuroMedicine departments — neuroscience, neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry — are working closely together with a host of brilliant leaders from the UF Institute on Aging, the UF Genetics Institute, the UF Health Cancer Center, the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, and elsewhere, depending on the needs of our Institute.

Together we are directing basic and translational research to develop practical applications that will help patients. This is a vibrant time for NeuroMedicine at the Health Science Center and UF Health. Many of our innovations already are making tangible differences in patients’ lives. As we move forward together, I have no doubt that the best is yet to come.

Tetsuo Ashizawa, M.D., FAAN
Melvin Greer Professor of Neurology;
Executive Director
Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida