Zuckerman pledges $200 million to Columbia University

(JTA) – Mortimer Zuckerman has pledged $200 million to endow a Mind Brain Behavior Institute at Columbia University.

The Zuckerman Institute will pursue cutting-edge research in neurobiology and deeper insights into human mental functions in both health and disease, according to a university statement. Among other things, the programs will focus on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, Asperger’s and schizophrenia.

“This country has provided me with extraordinary opportunities, and I am glad for the chance to support scientific leadership in a field I believe is so essential to all our lives,” Zuckerman said at last week’s announcement of the endowment. Zuckerman is a past chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the owner and publisher of the New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report, where he serves as editor-in-chief.

The Columbia institute’s faculty is expected to grow to 65 members, as well as independent junior fellows and visiting scholars, and in total some 1,000 scientists and staff will work for the institute across Columbia’s campuses, according to plans.

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