Research of young neuroscience investigators supported by funding from BMO Harris Bank

Feb. 25, 2014 College News - For the second consecutive year, BMO Harris Bank is supporting research at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) with the potential to improve treatment options and advance cures for people with neurological diseases. The organization’s latest $50,000 gift provides critical research resources for faculty in MCW’s Neuroscience Center.

MCW has been at the forefront of basic and clinical research in the neurosciences for decades, while the recent establishment of the Neuroscience Center has brought together more than 100 faculty from more than 13 disciplines in a collaborative structure that encourages innovation. Investigators in the Neuroscience Center are dedicated to translating new knowledge about the nervous system into applications that treat diseases of aging such as Alzheimer’s disease, ALS and Parkinson’s disease. They seek to prevent and improve treatments for brain and spinal cord injury and to control diseases of addiction.

“One of the great strengths of the Neuroscience Center is our capacity to provide scientists with wide varieties of expertise to connect and collaborate on projects of common and meaningful interest,” said Founding Director Cecilia Hillard, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology. “It’s our goal to assist our colleagues by providing shared research equipment, mentoring and helping to secure private funding to launch and sustain promising neuroscience research projects.”

BMO Harris is aiding in this mission as the Neuroscience Center will be able to use the gift, along with other philanthropy, to award seed funds to young investigators. Typically provided in the form of a grant following a competitive application process, seed funds give new researchers an opportunity to get their projects off the ground or enable established scientists to explore new avenues of research. The funds may help pay for laboratory supplies, specialized equipment and staff time needed to gather initial data.

“Seed funds are valuable for supporting innovative research at all levels, but young researchers especially benefit because they are still in the initial stages of setting up their laboratories and developing the research programs that will define their careers,” said MCW President and CEO John R. Raymond, Sr., MD. “This gift from BMO Harris Bank is fortuitous because not only does it help faculty researchers early in their careers, it energizes study in the neurosciences, an area with increasing need, yet great potential for fostering new knowledge.”

The leadership of Dr. Raymond plus MCW’s clinical expertise and commitment to advancing medical innovation were all factors in BMO Harris Bank’s decision to make a philanthropic donation, said Todd Perala, Director, Strategic Initiatives Retirement and Trust Services, BMO Global Asset Management.

“Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological and psychiatric disorders are issues that society is going to have to deal with much more, as we have an aging population,” he said. “The advancements now will pave the way for a much brighter future for people.”

BMO Harris Bank, established in 1882 as Harris Bank and now part of BMO Financial Group, is driven by a commitment to the communities it serves. Many of its employees volunteer with local organizations, and the company has a long history of supporting the United Way. Contributions by employees combined with corporate sponsorships totaled more than $7.6 million in 2012 in the Milwaukee area.

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Page Updated 02/25/2014