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New Webpage Highlights Fascinating, Critical Research and Innovations at AAU Universities

The brain is perhaps humankind’s greatest mystery. Yet even as we marvel at what it can do, we also know the terrible toll on individuals and society of maladies like Alzheimer’s, autism, addiction, and traumatic injury. Understanding and addressing brain disorders requires many approaches, and universities are helping lead the way through research, clinical work, and education.

The Association of American Universities, an association of 62 leading research universities, has created a new webpage, Researching the Brain, Seeking Cures, which gathers dozens of important stories from its member universities that are studying myriad aspects of the brain and seeking remedies for debilitating diseases and conditions.

“AAU universities are at the frontier of discovery as we seek to understand the human brain and find treatments, cures, and preventive measures for brain disorders,” said AAU President Mary Sue Coleman. “We want policymakers and the public to understand the extraordinary value of the work carried out at research universities to address our nation’s most serious problems.”

Examples of the research highlighted by the new webpage include these:

  • A team of UCLA researchers, led by Daniel Geschwind and Douglas Black, has discovered that a previously overlooked region of the brain houses a motherlode of mutated genes tied to autism, offering fresh targets for potential drug therapies for the disorder.
  •  Husband-and-wife Ph.D. students at Harvard – Eric Minikel and Sonia Vallabh – are taking steps toward a remedy for genetic prion disease, the rare, fatal, dementia-causing ailment that killed her mother and threatens her as well.
  • Ann McKee , a Boston University neurologist long in the forefront of research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), is finding it in the brains not only of boxers and professional football players but also of soccer, hockey, rugby, and baseball players.

The social media conversation about the webpage will use the hashtags #brainresearch and #research.

This is the third in a series on AAU university research that addresses major societal issues. The first two elements areHelping Solve the Fresh Water Puzzle and Helping Safeguard the Connected World, which features articles about cybersecurity research.

The Association of American Universities is a nonprofit organization of 62 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada. Its primary missions are to maintain the productive partnership between research universities and the U.S. government and to advance university research and higher education. AAU’s 60 U.S. universities award nearly one-half of all U.S. doctoral degrees and 55 percent of those in STEM fields.

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