Jan and Dan Duncan
Neurological Research Institute

Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute - Overview

More than 1 billion people worldwide — 300 million of them children — suffer from mental or brain disorders. The cost of brain-related diseases and injuries is estimated to exceed more than half a trillion dollars annually. Texas Children's Hospital is committed to this cause and has responded with the creation of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI). Under the visionary leadership of Drs. Huda Zoghbi and John Swann, the NRI has been built on a foundation of unmatched advantages: the experience and resources of the world-renowned Texas Children's Hospital; a pediatric neurology department that serves many children with neurologically handicapping diseases; and a core group of Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine scientists and clinicians already distinguished for their contributions in pediatric neurology, genetics, and cell and gene therapy.

First-of-its-kind institute

Opened officially in December 2010, the NRI is the first dedicated facility to utilize a bold new model of collaborative research to understand the unique issues of a child's brain structure, developmental patterns, and related diseases. It houses one of the largest concentrations of pediatric neurology researchers in the world, representing an array of highly specialized disciplines such as behavioral psychology, neuroimaging, chemistry, and bioinformatics. The state-of-the-art NRI building provides a superb research infrastructure in a single location, and has been designed in both layout and aesthetics to foster the open dialogue and active exchange of ideas needed to accelerate the translation of discoveries into new, effective treatments.

Remarkable generosity

Texas Children's Hospital Board Member Anthony Petrello and his wife Cynthia proposed the concept of a neurological research institute to Texas Children's President and CEO Mark A. Wallace; they immediately committed an initial $5 million to the cause, to be followed by an additional $2 million. After the Vision 2010 initiative was announced, Houston philanthropists Jan and the late Dan Duncan gave a transformational $50 million donation. Now other individuals and corporations have joined the cause, bringing the NRI's vision of speeding up discoveries in basic science so that eventually this research will translate into therapies for all types of neurological diseases closer to realization.


"We are on the cusp of an incredible moment in human history, when prevention and treatment of many neurological diseases is within grasp, and this institute is poised to lead the way." - Dr. Huda Zoghbi, Director, Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital

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