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Universities form new venture to tackle brain diseases

The University of California, San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and the University of Washington just launched a new initiative aimed at better understanding disorders that affect the brain and nervous system. The program — called the Weill Neurohub after a $106 million gift from the Weill Family Foundation — will bring together researchers from beyond neuroscience, including engineering, physics, mathematics, and computer science, as well as experts from the Department of Energy’s 17 national laboratories. The leaders of the Neurohub have deemed four scientific areas to be “pillars” of the new endeavor: imaging, engineering, genomics and molecular therapeutics, and computation and data analytics. Projects underway at the three institutions — including the development of a new, higher-resolution MRI and designing CRISPR-based therapies for movement and eye disorders — may also feed into work for the Neurohub.