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Colorful nerve cells, with text: Brain Power. An Integrated Approach.

Neuroscience—understanding the mysteries of the brain and the nervous system—is a top priority for scientists, physicians, funders, and government agencies. From seeking cures for neurodegenerative and neurological diseases and disorders to addressing mental illness, drug addiction, and substance abuse and developing effective treatments for brain injuries, neuroscience has emerged as a compelling scientific and medical frontier. Moreover, it has become increasingly clear that research and education in neuroscience is important to the health, well-being, and even the prosperity of society.

Seizing on this opportunity, Tom and Cathy Ryan have partnered with the University of Rhode Island to create the George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience. This new research institute will capitalize on the recently established Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program (INP) at the University of Rhode Island, where faculty are actively involved in a wide range of neuroscience research and a new interdisciplinary neuroscience doctoral program. Research at the Ryan Institute, complementing and enhancing existing research at URI, will focus on discovering therapies and preventative approaches to combat neurodegenerative diseases.


The Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program (INP) at URI gathers researchers and educators from a wide range of disciplines—faculty who work to pose and answer key questions about nervous system development, neural function, injuries of the nervous system, mental health, and disease processes. Their research— from drug development to diagnostics and neuroengineering—aims to advance understanding of the brain and central nervous system and to find treatments and cures for neurological diseases and dysfunctions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Down syndrome, epilepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, spinal cord injuries, schizophrenia, and chronic pain. The INP concentrates its research efforts on dementia/aging, central nervous system disorders, cellular neurobiology, and neuroengineering.

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A unique opportunity exists today to position Rhode Island as a leader in neuroscience research and in the treatment of neurodegenerative and neurological diseases. A number of innovative programs are already in place, including:

  • Brown University’s neuroscience program and Institute for Brain Science
  • Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute at Rhode Island Hospital
  • Collaborative clinical research among the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Care New England, and Alpert Medical School

URI’s strengths in pharmacology, drug discovery, neuroengineering, and psychology will serve as the catalyst to take these programs—and the synergies they generate—to the next level.

The George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience will elevate the visibility of this groundbreaking work at URI and throughout the state, positively impacting economic development in Rhode Island by creating a rich environment for the expansion of basic biomedical and translational research, advanced training, and clinical practice in neuroscience.

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