Finding Answers, Providing Hope for a Better Future

Committed to a Multidisciplinary Approach to Eradicating Brain and Nervous System Diseases

As our population ages, the future economic impact of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurological diseases is projected to greatly increase. But numbers cannot capture the human suffering of patients, families and caregivers caused by these conditions. Caring for patients can place enormous emotional, as well as financial burdens on families.

Many of the mechanisms behind neurological diseases are still a mystery. Biomedical researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) are breaking new ground in the understanding of molecular mechanisms underpinning the brain and nervous system. TSRI scientists are now poised to develop new approaches to save lives from these devastating diseases

Alzheimer’s Disease - Stealing Memory

  • Five million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer’s; it affects 11 percent of those age 65 and older, and 32 percent of those age 85 and older.
  • Alzheimer’s not only affects memory, but also language, judgment, perception and mood.
  • There are no effective treatments for Alzheimer’s; there are no early diagnostics.

Parkinson’s Disease - Robbing Independence

  • More than one million Americans currently suffer from Parkinson’s.
  • The disease is progressive, getting worse for patients over time; potentially fatal late-stage complications include choking, falls and pneumonia.
  • There are limited treatments for the symptoms of Parkinson’s and no treatments to prevent brain cell death exist; there are no early diagnostics.

Autism Spectrum Disorder - Interrupting Connections

  • While ranging in character and severity, symptoms of autism spectrum disorder generally fall into the areas of social impairment, communication difficulties, and repetitive and stereotyped behaviors.
  • While there are some educational/behavioral interventions and medications for autism-related symptoms, there is no cure.

Multiple Sclerosis - Defying Prediction

  • Symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), can include overwhelming fatigue, visual disturbances, numbness, weakness, tremor, dizziness and psychiatric problems; the severity of MS varies widely - severe cases can lead to blindness and paralysis.
  • No cure has yet been found.

Lou Gehrig’s Disease - Destroying Muscle Function

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig disease after the New York Yankees first baseman afflicted with the condition, destroys the nerves responsible for muscle movement.
  • Symptoms include muscle weakness, twitching, slurred speech and difficulty breathing and swallowing; dementia can also be involved.
  • Life expectancy averages two to five years after diagnosis; no meaningful treatments are available; there is no known cure, prevention, or early diagnostic.

The Need for Philanthropy

While there is a need for progress against these devastating diseases, not enough funding has been appropriated for critical biomedical research. Federal funding for basic biomedical research has been declining in real dollars, and the research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) tends to be incremental. What is needed to achieve scientific breakthroughs are high-risk, high-reward endeavors.

Greatly expanded private support is needed to find new treatments for each of these diseases. As funding for vital research dwindles, we need your help!

Our Initiatives

TSRI cultivates an interdisciplinary spirit where chemists, biologists, and others work hand-in-hand toward a common goal. Scientists specializing in a variety of approaches come together to synergistically address critical issues in neuroscience. Your support will enable us to expand faculty and postdoctoral fellowships in critical areas, make upgrades to laboratories and purchase new equipment, so we can find breakthroughs and solutions to Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases in the shortest time feasible. Add to that the NIH and NSF funding that is sure to result from discoveries at TSRI due to this initiative, and the potential for success is enormous.

The purpose is to find:

  • Novel therapeutic strategies
  • Early disease diagnostics
  • Effective drugs

Our Discoveries

Future discoveries will build on a strong track record of breakthroughs at TSRI, including, to name only a few:

  • Discovery of the first drug shown to slow the progression of an amyloid disease – research has shown that both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are caused by the misfolding of specific proteins into structures that leads them to cluster together. These microscopic fibrils or plaques are called “amyloid” and form toxic deposits that interfere with organ function.
  • Identification of a receptor in neurons that appears to control Parkinson’s damage to brain cells.
  • Developing the first of a new class of highly selective compounds that effectively suppresses the severity of MS in animal models and offering other new approaches to the disease.
  • Unveiling a surprising mechanism that controls brain formation—findings that have implications for understanding some forms of mental retardation, epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism and other diseases.
  • Revealing a molecular pathway implicated in motor neuron disease.
  • Developing compounds that reactivate the gene responsible for the inherited neurodegenerative disease Friedreich's ataxia.

Please Join Us in the Fight for Cures

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, Huntington’s, autism, MS, or other neurological diseases, you know that every new discovery is crucial in the effort to cure these destructive diseases. Gifts of all sizes are needed to bring us closer to cures. Let’s work together to make the next breakthrough a reality. Make a tax-deductible gift to TSRI and make a difference today!

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Tom Kodadek: Towards an Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. Read More

Work Hard, Think Hard: Cell Biologist Ardem Patapoutian. Watch Video

Middle School Student Raises Funds for Alzheimer’s Research at TSRI. Read More.


William Balch, PhD
Kristin Baldwin, PhD
Laura Bohn, PhD
Joel Buxbaum, MD
Jerold Chun, MD, PhD
Benjamin Cravatt III, PhD
Ronald Davis, PhD
Ezros Lazzerini Denchi, PhD
Celine DerMardirossian, PhD
Matthew Disney, PhD
Jane Dyson, PhD
Sandra Encalada, PhD
Nathalie Franc, PhD
Michael Farzan, PhD
Larry Gerace, PhD
Joel Gottesfeld, PhD
John Griffin, PhD
Brock Grill, PhD
Donna Gruol, PhD
Scott Hansen, PhD
William Ja, PhD
Claudio Joazeiro, PhD
Jeffery Kelly, PhD
Theodore Kamenecka, PhD
Shuji Kishi, PhD
Thomas Kodadek, PhD
Corinne Lasmezas, PhD
Philip LoGrasso, PhD
Jeanne Loring, PhD
Kirill Martemyanov, PhD
Vince Mauro, PhD
Anton Maximov, PhD
Mark Mayford, PhD
Courtney Miller, PhD
Richard Milner, PhD
Kerri Mowen, PhD
Ulrich Mueller, PhD
David Nemazee, PhD
Takanori Otomo, PhD
Damon Page, PhD
Michael Petrascheck, PhD
Sathyanarayanan Puthanveettil, PhD
Steve Reed, PhD
Amanda Roberts, PhD
William Roush, PhD
Daniel Salomon, MD
Louis Scampavia, PhD
Supriya Srinivasan, PhD
Srinivasa Subramaniam, PhD
Elizabeth Thomas, PhD
Paul Thompson, PhD
Seth Tomchik, PhD
Peter Vanderklish, PhD
Luke Wiseman, PhD
Peter Wright, PhD
Baoji Xu, PhD
Xiang-Lei Yang, PhD
John Yates III, PhD
Jian Zhu, PhD


More on the Alzheimer's and Neurological Disease Initiative (pdf)