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$3 Million endowment brings international leader in neuroscience to Tufts

Professor Philip Haydon has an ambitious goal for the neuroscience department he has arrived to direct at the School of Medicine: "We are going to become the best," he says.

A $3 million gift has been announced that will endow the Annetta and Gustav Grisard Professorship in Neuroscience held by department chair Haydon while furthering neuroscience research benefiting the field of gastroenterology. The gift to the School of Medicine through the Switzerland-based Foundation for Research in Gastroenterology and Related Fields was made possible by Annetta Grisard-Schrafl, J94P, a Tufts international overseer and former university trustee, and her husband, Gustav, J94P.

The recent arrival of Haydon and colleague Stephen Moss from the University of Pennsylvania brings two neuroscientists of international reputation to Tufts. The pair carry with them eight grants from the National Institutes of Health. Meantime, an infusion of new tenure-track faculty positions in the medical school's Department of Neuroscience has been advertised.

Tufts is making a major commitment to a field seen as one of the great unexplored frontiers of science. The research to be done at Tufts is expected to have significant impact on the treatment of epilepsy, Alzheimer's, and other diseases.

"This is the decade of the brain," says Michael Rosenblatt, dean of the School of Medicine. "No field in my estimation is more important than neuroscience. This area is exploding with knowledge, with tremendous applications for health in the future."

Tufts spent $3 million to renovate space in the South Cove Building, a former shirt factory on Kneeland Street, where the gleaming white-walled offices and labs of the neuroscience department on the second floor look out on the urban bustle of Chinatown. "The university has helped enormously," says Rosenblatt. "Without the investment by the university it would not have been possible to create state-of-the-art facilities to recruit the best scientists."

Professor Haydon's research into the little-understood role played by glial cells in the brain is helping uncover how brain cells communicate with each other. Dr. Moss's research on synaptic inhibition, a process critical for normal brain function, has applications in treating epilepsy, anxiety, depression, and other disorders of the central nervous system.

For more information, please contact:
Dominic Brodeur
Development Officer
School of Medicine