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 and physician-scientists 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
Todd E. Golde, M.D., Ph.D.
Executive Director, Todd E. Golde, M.D., Ph.D., oversees, champions and facilitates neuroscience and neuromedicine research programs across the UF campus. A professor of neuroscience, Golde joined the UF faculty in 2009 and became founding director of the university’s Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease (CTRND), which he led until taking the helm at the UF MBI in December 2016. He is also director of the 1Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center consortium of institutions. An internationally known expert in the scientific understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, Golde has expanded his leading-edge research to include other neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and even malaria.
Steven T. DeKosky, M.D.
Deputy Director, Steven T. DeKosky, M.D., is also the Aerts-Cosper Professor of Alzheimer’s Research at the University of Florida College of Medicine. His basic research centers on structural and neurochemical changes in human brain in aging and dementia and effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Beginning trauma studies as a Principal Investigator in the University of Pittsburgh Brain Trauma Research Center in 1992, he studied similarities in the injury cascades of TBI and AD. Dr. DeKosky has served on and led numerous NIH review and advisory committees, and taught and mentored in clinical research training programs sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Jada Lewis, Ph.D
Co-Deputy Director, Jada Lewis, Ph.D., is a professor of neuroscience and investigator at UF’s Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease. She has co-led the UF MBI’s Education and Outreach Committee with Jennifer Bizon, Ph.D., for the last two-plus years. Lewis’ research is focused on developing a refined understanding of the pathology of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and ALS.
Specialized Research on Cognitive Aging
Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research (CAM Center)
With healthier lifestyles and advances in medical science, the human lifespan has almost doubled in the past century. These improvements in somatic health, however, are currently outpacing our ability to maintain cognitive functioning into advanced age. UF MBI researchers are working to speed the progress towards identifying brain mechanisms that slow age-associated cognitive decline and those that can be harnessed to promote cognitive resilience. These researchers coalesce in the CAM Center, a university center under the UF MBI umbrella and supported by the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, that brings together UF faculty and trainees with diverse expertise in the neurobiology of aging, neuroplasticity, systems and cellular neuroscience, physiology, neuroimaging and behavior. Within the UF MBI’s specialized research on cognitive aging, several methods are being developed to distinguish biological markers of brain aging, ranging from an examination of genes to brain imaging. Further, with scientists who specialize in interdisciplinary clinical neuroscience and translational research, UF scientists are aggressively pursuing avenues for effective interventions to promote cognitive health across the full lifespan.
Learn More About the Institute
Explore research focus areas, partners, news, and educational outreach on the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute website.