The launch of the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute heralds a new era in neuroscience research and education



Florida Atlantic University celebrated the opening of the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute on FAU’s John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The official launch of the institute heralds a new era in neuroscience research, education, and community engagement. The multimillion-dollar, 58,000-square-foot facility will be a “beacon of hope” for the study and improvement of a multitude of brain and behavioral disorders.

Florida Atlantic University’s vibrant neuroscience ecosystem continues to grow and thrive on Jupiter Campus. The modern FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute is designed as a collaborative center for neuroscience to foster connections and serve as a global destination for the world’s brightest scientists and students. We are extremely grateful to David JS Nicholson, Florida State and our many research partners, including the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, for their insight and support.”


Stacy Volnick, FAU Interim President

The FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute is made possible by a $10 million transformational gift from Nicholson, who championed the idea of ​​a new institute for brain research, education, and community engagement. The $35 million research space represents a significant investment by the State of Florida, FAU and its research partners.

Nicholson and the Stiles-Nicholson Foundation have always kept their finger on the pulse of the health sciences and education fields, as well as the needs of FAU’s faculty, researchers, and students, who have been working in various capacities with the university for nearly 15 years.

“This is an exciting time for neuroscience as we push the boundaries of what we know about the brain as it develops, progresses, and responds to injury or disease. For the first time, computer speeds, big data science, and optical technologies have advanced to a point where big data brain discoveries are possible. The next decade of discovery belongs to science.” Nerves I am incredibly proud to partner with FAU to achieve our shared vision today,” Nicholson said. “As we officially open the doors to the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute, we are ready to accelerate the discovery and translation of novel therapies and therapies that will provide new hope for patients within our communities and around the world. Most importantly, the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute will energize interest among young people To pursue STEM as a profession and ultimately improve our nation’s ranking in STEM education.”

The first floor of the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute is home to the Brain Disease Modeling Center, a facility designed to develop and advance approaches to the study of brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, autism, addiction, and brain cancer. The center will double FAU’s existing capacity for physiological and behavioral analyses. The activities supported by the Center derive from the advanced infrastructure of behavioral research; non-invasive recording methods for mapping and activating brain circuits; tools to test the effects of drugs in the early stages; and opportunities to assess the impact of genetic and environmental changes on learning, memory, addiction, anxiety, and social behaviour.

Within the Center for Brain Disease Modeling, the Neurobehavioral Core Laboratory specializes in neurobehavioral research while providing state-of-the-art teaching experiences for undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral fellows. The first floor also provides a public area that features reception space, a lobby, and a two-story interactive auditorium designed to be quickly reconfigured for lectures, seminars, and community events. In the field, visitors not only hear from world-class neuroscientists about recent advances in brain science and health, but also enjoy theatrical performances on the tour or join community champions at banquet-style gatherings. The lobby area flows into a courtyard where visitors can meet scholars, artists, and students to enjoy the sunset over a fountain lake.

“Conceiving, building and launching the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute has been a labor of love for us, and we are thrilled to showcase our outstanding research facility today,” said Randy Blakely, Ph.D., Executive Director of FAU Stiles. Nicholson Brain Institute, David JS Nicholson Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience, and Professor of Biomedical Sciences at FAU’s Schmidt School of Medicine. “We are incredibly grateful to David for his support and everyone’s hard work and dedication in making the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute a reality. We believe that the impact of bringing together the brightest minds at this facility to unravel the mysteries of the brain will improve people’s quality of life for decades to come.” .

The main feature of the second floor is the Advanced Primary Cell Imaging Laboratory where brain cells are visualized. Visualizing dynamic, multidimensional brain cellular and circuitry merges with computational and virtual reality resources in this space to allow researchers to delve deeper into the brain. It also contains more than $1 million in equipment already acquired and houses one of 14 Nikon Centers of Excellence in the United States, one of 16 in the Americas and one of 30 worldwide.

Among the research areas that take place on the second floor, approximately 4,400 square feet of open laboratory space are linked to shared technology facilities and faculty offices. The open design stimulates communication and collaboration between junior and senior scientists and promotes interdisciplinary research opportunities.

The third floor is equipped to support researchers whose studies relate to molecular, cellular and computational neuroscience. Equipped with high-speed fiber optics, the space connects the researchers’ computer workstations to the supercomputers at the FAU High-Performance Computing Center where massive data analysis is manipulated for 3D modeling of proteins and drugs as well as for deciphering the complex physiological signatures of the human brain. The space will also support advanced training for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in computational biology, chemistry, and neuroscience.

An additional space on the third floor was envisioned as a resilient mind center, created to advance understanding of the brain mechanisms behind coping with early life and the constant stress, temptations of drug use, and mood disorders that plague millions around the world. The key to this center will be the creation of formal partnerships between psychologists, engineers, social workers and educators. This interdisciplinary activity will advance understanding of how the intersection of genetics, social interactions, and life events leads to changes in the brain in some, but not all, people. Additional open laboratory environments will support the Centers for Brain Development, Autism Research, and Neurodegenerative Disease Research.

Another key transformative component of Nicholson’s gift is the creation of the Stiles-Nicholson STEM Academy for Educators, which connects high-quality research preparation with middle and high school teachers and students, and will provide outstanding experiential STEM training programs for educators through its nationally recognized FAU high school on the Jupiter campus. The Academy will complement Nicholson’s investment in the Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute’s ASCEND program, which focuses on STEM training for middle school students who are just beginning to consider careers in science, engineering, and medicine.

“Today is the culmination of great generosity, hard work, deep commitment, and real vision to help advance groundbreaking discoveries in neuroscience, as well as STEM education throughout Palm Beach County through the Stiles-Nicholson STEM Academy for Educators,” said Chris Delicio, FAU. Vice President for Institutional Advancement and CEO of the FAU Foundation. “The core of the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute is a desire to engage with society and better understand the human brain and how it works. We are very grateful to Mr. Nicholson for his continued support and commitment and for helping us inspire the next generation of neuroscientists.”

Nicholson is a philanthropist and wealth manager with a history of successful accomplishments in financial services and education. After a distinguished career with IBM and Weyerhaeuser, Nicholson applied his pioneering mathematical and engineering skills to global financial markets, eventually opening three quantitative hedge funds and his own firm, York Management & Research, Inc. , in 1978. York moved the location of the hedge. The Jupiter Funds complex was established in 1990 and continues today as a single-family office.

He founded the Stiles-Nicholson Foundation in 1992 to honor the military sacrifices of his father, William Stiles, a fallen soldier, and his stepfather, William Nicholson, a German prisoner of war survivor. The Foundation supports major local and national education initiatives, which educate citizens about entrepreneurship, the free enterprise system, financial literacy, education reform, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Nicholson is the former director of Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches, as well as the Jupiter Medical Center Foundation and the Washington-based Tax Foundation. After 10 years of service, he has retired as trustee, treasurer, and chair of the investment committee for the Jupiter Medical Center Foundation, and currently volunteers as chair of the Stiles-Nicholson Foundation; Vice President of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium; member of the Board of Trustees of the Florida Future Foundation; director and board member of the Palm Beach County Business Development Board Chair; Member of the Advisory Board for Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University. Palm Beach County Financial Literacy Council and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Advisory Council.



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