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.
Director, Jennifer Bizon, Ph.D., is chair of the UF College of Medicine department of neuroscience and an expert in brain aging. Her research program is broadly focused on understanding brain aging and its implications for cognitive function. Dr. Bizon currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute. She participates in the training of medical students, graduate students, undergraduates, and postdoctoral fellows. She is co-Director of a T32 for pre-doctoral training in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
Steven T. DeKosky, M.D., is also the Aerts-Cosper Professor of Alzheimer’s Research at the UF College of Medicine, co-deputy director of the UF MBI and associate director of the 1Florida ADRC. DeKosky earned the Alzheimer Association’s Lifetime Achievement Henry Wisniewski Award in 2020.
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.
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.