The Friedman Brain Institute Research Scholars Partnership: Pursuing Science Along Its Most innovative Pathways

The Friedman Brain Institute Research Scholars Partnership: Pursuing Science Along Its Most innovative Pathways

This program began in 2016 with a simple question: What would happen if we provided much-needed pilot funding for innovative, creative, and collaborative—but also daring—research projects? Eight years—and 59 grants—later, we have an answer. Read on to learn about the impressive success of this philanthropy-driven program and hear from our generous donors.

“The impact of The Friedman Brain Institute Research Scholars Partnership is clear,” says Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD, Director of The Friedman Brain Institute. “We have awarded 59 grants to 127 principal investigators. This is a highly competitive process, as these grants were selected from more than 500 applications. The incredible generosity of our donors catalyzed and continues to sustain the program. I am personally extremely grateful for their belief in our researchers and their commitment to their work.”

Richard A. Friedman, Co-Chairman, Boards of Trustees, Mount Sinai Health System, has been the program’s greatest champion. “The Friedman Brain Institute Research Scholars program provides our exceptionally creative researchers with the liberty to pursue science along its most innovative pathways. Securing funding for the boldest concepts and most daring research endeavors can be challenging, yet we know that taking these risks paves the way for genuine innovation. I am proud to support this program and our esteemed scholars.”

At the core of this endeavor is a desire to provide scientists with seed funding that could help them generate preliminary data needed to secure funding from the National Institutes of Health or other sources. Approximately 60 percent of research groups have secured additional external funding as a result of their FBI Scholar-funded projects—and nearly 44 percent have since published their findings in various high-impact journals (through 2021).

The Friedman Brain Institute Research Scholars Partnership: Eight years of impactful science

“To quote Carl Sagan, one of the greatest scientists of modern times, ‘Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known,’” say benefactors Ram Sundaram and Preethi Krishna, who sponsor a Scholars award each year. “It is an honor and privilege for us to fund young investigators at Mount Sinai to conduct ‘moon shot’ research into one of the most important frontiers in the human body, the brain,” the couple says. This year, they are funding research into “A Novel Role for Follicle-Stimulating Hormone in Alzheimer’s Disease and Comorbid Health Conditions in Down Syndrome.”

Joseph and Nancy DiSabato are supporting research into “Aß Deposition and Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults with Multiple Sclerosis.” The benefactors say: “In medicine, it sometimes takes just one small breakthrough to spark major progress. Mount Sinai is home to some of the best and brightest investigators who have dedicated their careers to advancing how we understand the brain, which is why we have proudly supported the FBI Scholars program for many years. We are happy to help these young scientists and fund their ideas at an early stage, and to believe that with the breadth and diversity of inspiration and experimentation, they are poised to change the world with their discoveries.”

Click here to learn more about the 2023 donors and award recipients.