Pittsburgh Business Leader Henry L. Hillman Provides $5 Million Gift for Carnegie Mellon's New BrainHub(SM) Initiative
By Ken Walters
PITTSBURGH—Just weeks after the launch of a global initiative to leverage its unique strengths to impact brain research, Carnegie Mellon University has received a major boost from renowned Pittsburgh philanthropist Henry L. Hillman in the form of a new $5 million gift to support CMU's BrainHubSM .
Launched last month, CMU established BrainHub to bring together global strategic partners from the government, public, private, and philanthropic sectors to develop innovative computational and technological approaches for studying the links between brain and behavior. This effort will lead to new insights into topics such as cognition, learning and perception, and will shed light on brain disorders such as autism and Parkinson's disease. BrainHub also will leverage CMU's well-known interdisciplinary culture, bringing together computer science, humanities, science, engineering, business, public policy and the arts to conduct research on the brain and the related fields of data science and the science of learning.
The Hillman gift will provide endowment funds to help support presidential graduate fellowships in areas broadly connected to brain research. It will also provide seed grants, through CMU's ProSEED program, for innovative research projects that will connect faculty from disciplines across CMU. The gift will help support the training of the next generation of brain researchers on a global scale. As part of BrainHub, Carnegie Mellon scientists will work with university partners from China, India and the United Kingdom, and the Hillman gift will be matched with other sources of support for BrainHub.
"Understanding how the brain works is among the great challenges of the 21st century, with results that promise to improve human health and well-being in dramatic ways," said CMU President Subra Suresh. "Carnegie Mellon can make a unique and distinctive contribution to this global effort by bringing together our strengths in neurobiology, computation, data sciences, human learning and behavioral science to create urgently needed research frameworks, tools and technologies, and by working in close concert with the network of BrainHub universities around the world. We are deeply grateful to Henry Hillman for supporting our vision with this magnificent new gift."
Later today, CMU representatives will visit the White House as part of an Office of Science and Technology Policy event to highlight the brain research being done at U.S. universities. The event brings together neuroscientists and representatives from universities, industry, private research organizations and U.S. government agencies.
Carnegie Mellon researchers are recognized for their expertise in areas that promise to pave new avenues for methods to measure and analyze both brain activity and behavior and then to link these domains through the application of cutting-edge computational tools. BrainHub will promote the dissemination and commercialization of the most promising of these advances so that they are widely used, furthering brain research, policies and practices across the globe.
CMU's BrainHub connects global partners including the University of Warwick, which has a concentrated expertise in the field of digital health; Sun Yat-sen University, whose medical school has broad clinical expertise in Alzheimer's and autism; Oxford University, through its International Brain Mechanics and Trauma Lab; and the Indian Institute of Science, which recently launched its own brain research center.
For more information on CMU BrainHub, visit www.cmu.edu/brainhub.