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Year in Review: The American Brain Foundation 2023

We’re celebrating this year’s major steps forward in brain disease research, education, and awareness—all thanks to our donors. 

The past year has been an exciting one for the American Brain Foundation. With the help of our donors and partners, we have funded critical brain disease research, shared free resources and updates on the latest research in the field, and promoted awareness of the impact of brain diseases and disorders.

As 2023 draws to a close, we are taking time to reflect on some of our accomplishments and the research advancements we were able to pursue this year with the invaluable support of our donors.

Our 2025 Cure One, Cure Many Award in Neuroinflammation 

This year, we were thrilled to announce our 2025 Cure One, Cure Many award focused on investigating the role of neuroinflammation in brain diseases and disorders. Our Cure One, Cure Many program supports breakthrough research efforts and provides large-scale funding to investigators pursuing the most innovative, cross-cutting research into prevention and treatment strategies for brain diseases and disorders. The program specifically targets research topics that cut across multiple disease areas. 

That is why we chose neuroinflammation as the research focus of our latest Cure One, Cure Many award. Neuroinflammation plays a role in nearly all known brain diseases and impacts people across all stages of life. Research into neuroinflammation will give us insights into diseases as different as Alzheimer’s disease, MS, Parkinson’s, ALS, stroke, brain tumor, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, schizophrenia, autism, and COVID-19-associated brain disease, among others.

The neuroinflammation initiative has also drawn unprecedented support from a wide range of industries. The scope of this ambitious initiative has been made possible through cross-industry collaboration between scientists, venture and private philanthropists, pharmaceutical organizations, and patient advocacy and nonprofit organizations like the National MS Society, the Encephalitis Society, the NFL Players Association, Gates Ventures, and the WoodNext Foundation. This large-scale, coordinated effort to support research from a wide diversity of partners and donors demonstrates both the range of concern about the impact of neuroinflammation on brain health and its significance as an emerging public health issue.

We will begin soliciting research proposals for the neuroinflammation initiative in spring 2024, and research will begin in 2025.

New “What Is Cure One, Cure Many?” Page

All of our research efforts are driven by our philosophy, “Cure One, Cure Many.” We support research across the full spectrum of brain diseases and disorders because we know research into one brain disease will yield insights that can be applied across many others.

However, it is difficult to convey the full impact of this research approach in just a few sentences. That’s why we created a new page on our website dedicated to explaining what Cure One, Cure Many really means, providing examples of how research into one brain disease area has contributed to discoveries and advancements in others. Check out the new interactive page here.

Commitment to Cures 2023

We held our annual Commitment to Cures gala in Boston. The gala was emceed by Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, and brought together a wide range of researchers and advocates, showcasing our collective commitment to finding treatments and cures for brain diseases. 

Highlights from this year’s Commitment to Cures gala included:

  • Raising $565,000 for brain disease research
  • Engaging a record-breaking 36 sponsors and over 500 in-person attendees
  • Honoring awardees and special guests, including Josep Dalmau, MD, PhD, FAAN, and Vanda Lennon, MD, PhD (Scientific Breakthrough Award), Arianna Huffington (Public Leadership in Neurology Award), and Peter Frampton (Ambassador Award)

You can find more updates from this year’s Commitment to Cures gala here.

13 Next Generation Research Grants (NGRG) Awarded

In 2023 alone, we funded 13 new early-career researchers through our Next Generation Research Grants program. Including recipients receiving continued funding from 2021 and 2022, we supported 30 researchers through this initiative this year. These brilliant minds are the future of brain disease research, and your contributions ensure they continue to have the resources they need to make groundbreaking discoveries. To learn more about how our NGRG program launches the careers of tomorrow’s most promising researchers, read interviews with some of our past grant recipients, Dr. Svjetlana Miocinovic and Dr. Carolina Barnett-Tapia

Support That Will Have a Lasting Impact 

Every donation, no matter the amount, supports vital research that gets us closer to our vision of life without brain disease. However, this year, we were incredibly grateful to receive a gift of $4.7 million from a private family foundation, the largest single gift in our history.

This gift will make an impact for years to come and will move brain disease research forward in a number of key areas. In addition to providing critical funding for our 2025 Cure One, Cure Many award in neuroinflammation, this donation will also support an ongoing research project to identify a biomarker for Lewy body dementia. While we know not everyone can make gifts on this extremely generous scale, this act serves as a poignant reminder of the lasting legacy we can create through donor support.

Donating directly to the American Brain Foundation is just one way to make a lasting impact. This year, we also updated our Planned Giving hub, which invites supporters to consider including ABF in their estate plans, whether through a bequest, a beneficiary designation, or an IRA rollover. This is an opportunity to ensure the fight against brain disease continues long into the future.

Education and Empowerment

Knowledge is a powerful tool in the fight against brain disease, because when people are informed they are better equipped to advocate for research and support caregivers. We continue to host free educational webinars every month featuring leading neurologists and brain disease experts. These webinars provide a platform for viewers to interact directly with the best minds in the field and have questions answered on a range of important topics. 

You can find recordings of all our past webinars on our YouTube channel.

Thank You to Our Supporters

As we reflect on our 2023 achievements, we are grateful to all the supporters who have helped us take these important steps toward our vision of life without brain disease. None of these accomplishments and ongoing research projects would be possible without funding from our donors. 

The fact that we have been able to make such great strides this year highlights the dedication of our supporters, but also underscores the urgent need for sustained funding to continue this important work. We look forward to continuing these efforts next year with your help.

The American Brain Foundation knows that when we find the cure for one brain disease, we will find cures for many others. Learn more about the brain disease research we fund, or donate today to support the cures and treatments of tomorrow.