A magazine for friends of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

A History of Research


Brain Science

Brown’s longstanding excellence in brain science began in 1978, when the Center for Neural Sciences was established to support research collaboration among faculty in psychology, linguistics, engineering, physics, applied mathematics, and the biomedical sciences. In 1984, Brown and Rhode Island Hospital concluded a joint study of the future of the neurosciences in the state with a commitment to build a multi-institutional, University-affiliated program.

In 1999, the Brain Science Program was created, led by neuroscience chair John Donoghue PhD’79, P’09, P’12MD’18. Under his direction, the program became the Brown Institute for Brain Science in 2008, where researchers ask: “How do we see? How do we learn and remember? How do we interact with the world? How do we communicate? How do we repair the damaged brain? How do we crack the neural code?”

With a $100 million gift, Robert J. Carney ’61 and Nancy D. Carney named the Carney Institute for Brain Science in 2018. Neuroscientist Diane Lipscombe, PhD, was appointed the Reliance Dhirubhai Ambani Director of the institute, which unites more than 180 faculty and their research groups across 23 Brown departments and its affiliated hospitals.

2002 Brown’s Primary Care Genetics Laboratory and Translational Research Center is founded at Memorial Hospital with the goal of advancing primary care medicine through translational genetics research, education, clinical care, and policy. Research includes projects examining individual DNA to determine smoking cessation treatments; gene-environment interactions on the development and prevention of cardiovascular disease and osteoarthritis; and using genetic testing to communicate cancer risk.
2003 The Center for Computational Molecular Biology launches with a multidisciplinary PhD program. The center brings together researchers in fields like applied mathematics, computer science, and ecology and evolutionary biology to apply new tools to unlock the most fundamental biological structures underlying injury and illness, growth and again, mutation and reproduction, and more.
2004 The VA awards $7.2 million to launch the Center for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine, a collaborative research effort among Brown, the Providence VA Medical Center, and MIT, aimed at improving the lives of persons with limb trauma, particularly war veterans. Research focuses on tissue restoration and advanced rehabilitation, as well as developing a new generation of biomimetic prosthetic limbs that increase mobility, comfort, and control, and reduce incidence of infection.
2005 The Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk is founded at the Medical School and Women & Infants Hospital to understand the factors that influence children’s developmental outcomes and provide family-based clinical services. The center unites researchers and practitioners in developmental and clinical psychology, psychiatry, pediatrics, nursing, occupational therapy, social work, substance abuse, and public health.

2005A four-year, $11.5 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences establishes a Superfund Basic Research Program to study the health threats posed by Rhode Island’s contaminated industrial, commercial, and residential lands, and find ways to rehabilitate them. With 13 waste sites on the Superfund National Priorities List and 300 brownfields requiring decontamination, Rhode Island is a prime laboratory for analyzing the health effects of asbestos, heavy metals, and other toxins. It has been refunded several times and its work continues today.
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