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Pioneering Neurosciences Institute Sets Date for Dedication of New Facility and First-Ever International Forum on Memory and Memory Disorders


MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On October 16th, 2008, the new $30 million Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (BRNI) located on the campus on West Virginia University and founded in honor of U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller's mother, will play host to prominent international scientists who are advancing 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 led to breakthrough advances for the aging brain, Alzheimer's disease, and patients suffering from memory loss and memory disorders. The next day, on October 17, BRNI will open its doors to the public and further continue the Institute's research, which started nearly nine years ago. The approximately 78,000 square foot three-level building will provide state-of-the-art laboratory space and support research activities for nearly a hundred scientists and researchers.

"Even before the doors have opened, BRNI has undertaken ground-breaking research into the treatment for Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders. Now, for the first time ever, the best and brightest minds in our country, and from around the world, will gather to discuss the state of memory and memory disorders research and have a place to carry on their important work," said Sen. Rockefeller. "I know the heartbreak that comes with having someone you love slowly fade from Alzheimer's. BRNI's opening is a great day for not only West Virginia, but for all families across the globe that will benefit from its important work."

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 Tracy 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.

"Because of the dedication of Sen. Rockefeller and his passion for finding a cure for Alzheimer's, this magnificent facility and its outstanding world-renowned scientists can work everyday to unlock the causes and treatments for this troubling disease," said Dr. Daniel Alkon, Scientific Director at BRNI. "BRNI's hosting of the International Forum on Memory and Memory Disorders will shine a global spotlight on our own work and contribute to the progress we are making in finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease and new undiscovered treatments for memory disorders."

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 to register to attend the International Forum, visit

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.

SOURCE Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute
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