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Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute Hosts First-Ever International Forum on Memory and Memory Disorders and Dedicates New $30 Million Research Facility
Date:10/16/2008

WORLD-RENOWNED SCIENTISTS CONVENE TO SHARE GROUNDBREAKING RESEARCH ON ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, MEMORY AND AGING

MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the new $30 million Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (BRNI) research headquarters located on the campus of West Virginia University and founded in honor of U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller's mother, will play host to prominent international scientists who have achieved breakthroughs in their research on Alzheimer's disease and other memory disorders. The first-ever International Forum on Memory and Memory Disorders will highlight the work of nine celebrated scientists whose research has advanced the study of the aging brain, Alzheimer's disease, and patients suffering from memory loss and memory disorders. The Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute is the only research institute in the world dedicated to both an understanding of how human memory works and advancing new discoveries that can identify, treat and repair damages from diseases and disorders that impact human memory.

Tomorrow, on October 17, BRNI will open its doors to the public for the official dedication ceremony of its new research facility. The approximately 78,000 square foot three-level building will provide state-of-the-art laboratory space and support research activities for 125 scientists and researchers working on the mission to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease and other memory disorders.

"This is an important moment not just for West Virginia, but for all scientists researching the diseases and disorders afflicting human memory. I know the pain felt when losing a loved one to Alzheimer's. This research will not only have an impact on the 46,000 West Virginians and their families suffering from Alzheimer's disease, but will have global significance to the 5.1 million people in the United States, and the more than 26 million people around the world who are also suffering*," said U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller. "This international forum will begin a dialogue of science and information that will further the research and offer new hope. And, I'm proud to say, our new $30 million BRNI research facility headquartered at West Virginia University will allow the Institute to expand its important work as part of this global scientific effort."

The prestigious list of scientists chosen to share their research is an international mix of experts from Switzerland, to Harvard Medical School, to West Virginia University and includes:

Professor Floyd Bloom, Professor Emeritus and Chairman of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Institute, Professor Andrew Matus, Director, Emeritus Neurobiology, Friedrich Miescher Institute, Novartis Research Foundation, Switzerland, Professor Howard Eichenbaum, Director, Center for Memory, Boston University, Professor Tracey Shors, Department of Psychology, Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, Rutgers University, Dr. Daniel Alkon, Scientific Director, Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute at West Virginia University, Professor Rudi Tanzi, Director, Genetics and Aging Unit, Harvard Medical School, Professor Sangram Sisodia, Director, Center for Brain Disease, University of Chicago, Professor James Stevenson, Chairman, Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, West Virginia University School of Medicine and Professor Carol Barnes, Director, Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, The University of Arizona.

"BRNI is already paving the way for dramatic breakthroughs in the treatment of diseases and disorders that affect human memory through the landmark discoveries of its research," said Dr. Daniel Alkon, Scientific Director of BRNI. "This Forum allows us the opportunity to communicate and disseminate an understanding of how memory works and how it becomes dysfunctional through groundbreaking research that will inform and learn new insights into advancing the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of memory disorders."

Tomorrow, Senator Rockefeller will officially dedicate the new $30 million BRNI research facility to an audience of local researchers, scientists, physicians, students and dignitaries. Local families personally affected by Alzheimer's and other memory disorders will share their stories. In celebration of the dedication of the new facility, a first-day-of-issue stamp dedication for the Alzheimer's Awareness 42-cent social awareness first-class stamp will follow the dedication ceremony. U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Vice Chairman Carolyn Lewis Gallagher will unveil the stamp and present it to Senator Rockefeller.

"I can't think of a better place to dedicate a stamp that raises the awareness of the issues surrounding Alzheimer's disease," said the Vice Chair of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, Carolyn Lewis Gallagher. "I would like to thank everyone associated with the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute for your ground-breaking research into the treatment of Alzheimer's and other memory disorders. I applaud the Institute for moving closer to finding a cure."

Sponsors of the International Forum on Memory and Memory Disorders include: The West Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association (Suddenlink, Comcast, Time Warner), the Park Corporation, United Airlines, Verizon and AT&T.

The only non-profit independent institution in the world dedicated to the study of human memory and memory disorders, BRNI was established by Rockefeller in 1999 in honor of his mother, Blanchette, who was afflicted by Alzheimer's disease. The Institute's scientific exploration of memory and memory disorders has led to recent discoveries with a drug -- Bryostatin -- shown to create new connections in the brain, among other revolutionary findings. BRNI's work expands and advances the scientific research of memory and memory disorders for the purposes of prevention, diagnosis and treatment, with the goal of moving research out of the laboratory and into the hands of physicians and patients.

For more information on the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute or on the International Forum or Dedication Ceremony activities, please visit http://www.brni.org.

*Source: Alzheimer's Association and West Virginia Alzheimer's Association

About Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute:

Created in 1999, BRNI is the world's only non-profit institute dedicated to the study of both human memory and diseases of memory. Its primary mission is to accelerate neurological discoveries from the lab, including diagnostic tools and treatments, to the clinic where it can benefit patients who suffer from neurological and psychiatric diseases.

BRNI is operated in alliance with West Virginia University in Morgantown as well as in collaboration with other academic institutions such as Johns Hopkins University. West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller founded the Institute in memory of his mother, Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller, who died of Alzheimer's disease.

CONTACT: Christy White, +1-571-225-6587, +1-703-859-0816, for Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute


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SOURCE Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute
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