The Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida

200+ faculty members from more than 50 academic departments

No 3 ranking in neuroscience for NIH funding among public universities

Collaboration with institutes, centers, departments and programs across the UF campus and beyond

50+ labs totaling 260,000 square feet of research space

With the start of the new millennium, the University of Florida Brain Institute, a world class $60 million building, was renamed the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida (UF MBI) to celebrate and commemorate a $15 million gift from the McKnight Brain Research Foundation.

The award was the largest cash gift in UF history and it was matched by the state of Florida to help create a more than $30 million permanent endowment devoted to fundamental research on the mechanisms underlying the formation, storage and retrieval of memories, the impairments in these processes associated with aging and the development of therapeutic strategies to help prevent and/or alleviate these impairments in humans.

Today the UF MBI is one of the nation’s most diverse neuroscience research centers. Its mission extends far beyond its physical walls and serves as a “transparent umbrella” connecting and supporting faculty members from other departments, centers and programs with concentrations in neuroscience research throughout UF’s 16 colleges. Across campus, researchers collaborate with cognitive aging core faculty — supported by the gift from the McKnight Brain Research Foundation — on multidisciplinary teams to better understand how the brain works and how various diseases alter brain function.

Ultimately these researchers hope to broaden the understanding of many neurological and psychiatric disorders and change them from untreatable to treatable, incurable to curable and inevitable to preventable.

The UF MBI is also home to the Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research (CAM Center) which is supported by an additional endowment from the McKnight Brain Research Foundation. This center is specifically focused on discovery-based and translational research surrounding brain aging and cognition with the overall goal of developing strategies and interventions to promote successful cognitive aging.

The William G. Luttge Lectureship

In 2012, the McKnight Brain Research Foundation endowed UF with $300,000 to establish a permanent annual lectureship as a memorial tribute to the late William G. Luttge, Ph.D., the first director of the UF MBI. Each year, the William G. Luttge Lectureship in Neuroscience is awarded to explore inventive ideas and approaches to ensure healthy cognitive aging and to counter brain diseases.

Learn More on the UF Website

Institute Leadership

As the University of Florida searches for a new MBI executive director, the institute is being guided by the UF Health Neuroscience and Neuromedicine Research Executive Committee, which includes: 

Steven DeKosky, M.D., and Jada Lewis, Ph.D., deputy directors of the MBI, and Kevin McNaught, Ph.D., chief science officer for neuroscience research at UF Health. 

Specialized Research on Cognitive Aging


Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research (CAM Center)

Co-directed by Ron Cohen, Ph.D. ABPP, and Jennifer Bizon, Ph.D., with Sara Burke, Ph.D., and Adam Woods, Ph.D., serving as associate directors, the CAM Center is a multidisciplinary research center focused on brain aging and cognition with researchers specializing in the neurobiology of aging, neuroplasticity, physiology, behavior and clinical intervention. Research approaches within the CAM Center includes analysis of single cells and molecules; interrogation of neural circuits; and design and testing of interventions to improve cognitive health. With strengths in both preclinical discovery-based research and clinical science, researchers are dedicated to the translation of leading-edge brain aging discoveries into interventions that will preserve cognitive function and improve the quality of lives for older adults. The CAM Center is a fertile training ground for those interested in preclinical or translational research careers focused on preventing or reversing age-related cognitive decline.

Learn More About the Institute

Explore research focus areas, partners, news, and educational outreach on the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute website.

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The McKnight Brain Institutes

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University of Alabama at Birmingham

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University of Arizona

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University of Florida

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University of Miami

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