The Marilyn and Henry Taub Foundation has given $10 million -- one of the largest research gifts Columbia has ever received -- to establish the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain. The new institute is designed to foster interdisciplinary research on the causes, progression and prevention of degenerative brain diseases, including Alzheimer's disease.
"The overarching theme of the Taub Institute is to identify those at risk for Alzheimer's disease and related disorders and to develop means to prevent or delay the onset of these conditions," says Dr. Richard Mayeux, Sergievsky Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Public Health and co-director of the new institute.
The ongoing collaboration between the Taub Foundation and the University has led to many important findings in Alzheimer's research, including possible causes and prevention of this disease. In 1995, the Taubs first began supporting research at Columbia by providing for the creation of the Taub Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research.
"Mr. and Mrs. Taub are very caring individuals," Dr. Mayeux said. "They have an understanding of how research is done. They know progress is made in small steps and only sometimes in great leaps. More than anything else they share our vision of eventually preventing this disease."
The new institute is co-directed by Dr. Michael Shelanski, Delafield Professor and Chairman of Pathology, and Dr. Mayeux.
"This exciting new collaboration between the respective talents of Drs. Mayeux and Shelanski has taken Columbia's work in Alzheimer's, which is among the best in the nation, and made it among the best in the world," says Herbert Pardes, M.D., Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.
Alzheimer's Disease(AD) is a progressive disease that affects the brain regions that control thought, memory, and language. The disease is the most common form of dementia in developed nations. Because the U.S. population's oldest segment is the fastest growing, the number of AD patients is likely to grow to more than 5 million by 2010, affecting up to 40 percent of people older than 85, reports the National Institute of Aging.
The recent gift will build on the past four years of work allowing Columbia centers and departments to join in research activities to expand the scope and outreach of the institute's programs. The new institute will recruit additional scientists and initiate new efforts in genetics, brain imaging and development, and molecular biology. The institute will develop the means to identify vulnerable individuals at risk for disease and devise new therapies to prevent or delay the consequences of disorders of the aging brain.
Henry Taub is the founder of Automatic Data Processing, one of the world's largest providers of payroll services. He also serves on numerous boards of health and higher education. Marilyn Taub serves as the Taub Foundation's secretary and has been a member of Columbia-Presbyterian's Psychiatry Board since 1989.
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