Penn Announces $50 Million Penn Integrates Knowledge Neurosciences Initiative

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-898-8721September 18, 2008


PHILADELPHIA –- The University of Pennsylvania will make a major investment in neuroscience, the interdisciplinary study of brain/behavior relationships and nervous-system diseases, with a $50 million contribution from Penn’s Health System to endow five new Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) professorships.

A portion of this contribution will supply start-up funds for each PIK professorship in neuroscience and will support interdisciplinary neuroscience initiatives involving the School of Medicine and other schools of the University.

The announcement was made by Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Ronald Daniels.

“This landmark contribution by the Health System represents an extraordinary commitment toward strengthening Penn’s academic programs.” Gutmann said. “With our commitment to integrating knowledge and our formidable teaching and research capacity in medicine and the neural and behavioral sciences, Penn can drive progress in the path-breaking fields of brain science.

“This $50 million contribution, coupled with Penn’s collaborative cross-school team approach, helps empower Penn to develop the knowledge needed to improve our understanding of the neural basis of behavior, including human cognition and emotion and ultimately to improve the health and well being of people around the globe.”

The $50 million adds to the Health System’s existing funding for new centers and institutes, support toward the construction of a new research building and aggressive faculty recruitment efforts in the School of Medicine.

PIK professorships, a University-wide initiative launched by Gutmann in 2005, are awarded to exceptional faculty members whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge across fields of study.

This new $50 million Penn Integrates Knowledge Neuroscience Initiative is in addition to several significant neuroscience initiatives currently underway or planned at Penn including:

• Eighteen faculty positions in the neurosciences added since 2006.

• Dedicated neuroscience facilities in the Fisher Translational Research Center intended to accelerate the conversion of cutting-edge research into new therapies and treatments.

• A new Neural and Behavioral Sciences Building in the School of Arts and Sciences designed to integrate research and education in psychology, biology and cognitive sciences.

• Enhanced facilities for Penn’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Center for Functional Neuroimaging. Penn has been a world leader in neuroscience research and training since 1953 when it founded the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences, the nation’s first university-wide institute devoted exclusively to neuroscience research.

“We are confident,” Daniels said, “that the new Penn Integrates Knowledge Neuroscience Initiative will allow Penn to continue to lead the life-sciences revolution by empowering our world-class faculty and investigators to take giant strides toward improving the health and well being of people around the globe.”

Penn supports one of the world’s leading neuroscience research communities: 182 faculty from 32 departments across six schools, a pioneering undergraduate program in Biological Basis of Behavior and a Neuroscience Graduate Group that fosters the next generation of neuroscientists.

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