SIF118 Bold Research Advancement in Neuroscience (BRAIN)

Project Manager: Jaideep Kapur, SOM

The purpose of this project is to build on research strengths and create centers in autism, and neurodegenerative disease/ neuromodulation, integrating research with basic, clinical, and community aspects to impact care and treatments.

BoV Approved: June 2017

Project Dates: 8/04/2017 – 8/03/2022

Funding Awarded: $15,710,000

Executive Summary

The University of Virginia established the Brain Institute in 2016 to take advantage of its significant research and educational strengths, and in response to state and national needs and investments.  This SIF award builds on three areas of research prominence – autism, neurodegenerative disease and neuromodulation, and sensory disorders – to take them to national and international pre-eminence by integrating research with basic, clinical and community aspects to impact care and treatments. This will be accomplished by strategic hiring of mid-career faculty, establishment of enhanced facilities for brain imaging and neuromics, and by connecting investigators to data resources and translational efforts that will allow clinical breakthroughs. Strategic goals include the vertical integration of research in the three research areas, increased external funding in these areas, and application for nationally funded centers of excellence in autism, neurodegeneration, and eye disorders.

Current Status: Active


This award has been formally reviewed by the PAC three times, in March 2019, April 2020, and March 2021. At the March 2021 meeting, the PAC granted a second no-cost extension so that the project team may have the opportunity to complete goals that were delayed due to COVID-19 disruptions. The team has made significant progress in achieving each of their original goals. The over three dozen BRAIN seed awardees have received more than $22M in extramural grant awards from applications based on preliminary data derived from the work funded by the BRAIN SIF funding. In the Autism area, world-renowned faculty have been recruited, a collaboration with Inova has been established, and an autism clinic has opened. In the Epilepsy area, UVA has one of the largest and most well-funded research groups in epilepsy in the nation, studying novel PET techniques to more accurately and precisely determine seizure foci. The Focused Ultrasound group is pioneering treatments in addiction disorders and pain management. The Alzheimer’s and Aging group has created the Virginia Alzheimer’s Disease Center (VADC) to draw together the talents of over 40 researchers from five Schools across the University.