The Pershing Square Foundation “MIND” Prize Awarded to Seven Creative Researchers Paving the Way to a Deeper and Transformative Understanding of the Brain

The Pershing Square Foundation “MIND” Prize Awarded to Seven Creative Researchers Paving the Way to a Deeper and Transformative Understanding of the Brain

The Pershing Square Foundation “MIND” Prize Awarded to Seven Creative Researchers Paving the Way to a Deeper and Transformative Understanding of the Brain

Each Prize Winner to Receive $750,000 Over Three Years

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Pershing Square Foundation today announced the seven winners of the “MIND” Prize (Maximizing Innovation in Neuroscience Discovery). Through the Prize, the Foundation strives to change the paradigm of neuroscience research by creating a community of next-frontier thinkers who can uncover a deeper understanding of the brain and cognition. Breakthroughs in basic scientific and translational research will yield critical tools for and knowledge of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, which affect millions of people worldwide.

The MIND Prize will catalyze novel interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary work by facilitating collaborations across academic departments and institutions and amongst the academic, biomedical industry, philanthropic, and business communities. The 2024 Prize winners will each receive $750,000, distributed $250,000 per year for three years.

Cognitive Disease Disorders are holisms—wholes bigger than the sum of their parts—requiring us to apply systems-based thinking across cellular, organismic and behavioral scales,” said Pershing Square Foundation Co-Trustee Neri Oxman, PhD. “The winners of the 2024 MIND Prize embody such system-based thinking in their work, ranging from autoinflammatory early event detection to impacted lipid synthesis mechanisms all the way to ribosome programming and next generation DNA sequencing–based ‘biochemical microscopes.’ We look forward to honoring these contributions.”

  • Hachung Chung, PhD, Columbia University Irving Medical Center: Dr. Chung’s project explores a new paradigm that autoinflammatory reactions against our own RNAs is an early event that initiates and accelerates neurodegeneration, paving the way for a multidisciplinary research program at the intersection of immunology, neuroscience, and RNA biology.
  • Faranak Fattahi, PhD, University of California, San Francisco: Dr. Fattahi and her lab aim to investigate the elusive role of Schwann cell-neuron interaction in motor neuron dysfunction and degeneration in ALS. This could ultimately lead to novel therapeutic avenues for those affected by ALS and other neuromuscular diseases.
  • Antonio Fernandez-Ruiz, PhD, Cornell University: Dr. Fernandez-Ruiz’s work seeks to dissect the circuit and cell-type specific mechanisms of altered neural dynamics—which normally support memory processes—in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s Disease, with the aim of restoring memory deficits in mice and paving the road for future human applications.
  • Shane Liddelow, PhD, NYU Grossman School of Medicine: Dr. Liddelow’s lab aims to determine how dysregulation of astrocyte lipid biology is implicated in neurological disorders and if modulation of a lipid synthesis enzyme may provide neuroprotection across a wide range of diseases.
  • Alex Pollen, PhD, University of California, San Francisco: Dr. Pollen proposes to study neurodegeneration by combining cellular models with evolutionary and functional genetics approaches to identify human-specific cellular vulnerabilities and candidate therapeutic targets.
  • Longzhi Tan, PhD, Stanford University: Dr. Tan’s project plans to build the next generation of DNA sequencing–based “biochemical microscopes” to precisely measure and manipulate the genome architecture of individual cells to uncover the fundamental principles of how DNA folds and regulates gene expression. This will help guide the design of therapies that rewire the 3D genome architecture to restore normal brain functions from aging and disease.
  • Xuebing Wu, PhD, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons: Dr. Wu and his lab will take their first foray into neurodegenerative disease research by working to reactivate heart ribosomes in the brain to combat protein misfolding and aggregation, with the goal to determine whether ribosome reprogramming can delay or even prevent the development of amyloid plaques and associated Alzheimer’s Disease pathology.

We were deeply impressed throughout the process by the number of excellent proposals we received. Each researcher covers a breadth of ideas and concepts with the potential of accelerating our understanding and knowledge of the brain and cognition,” said Olivia Tournay Flatto, PhD, President of The Pershing Square Foundation. “Each award recipient is selected by an extraordinary board, comprised of a curated group of visionaries and influential leaders. Powerful minds and technologies truly drive revolutions.”

As part of the selection process, the MIND Prize relied on the guidance of a highly accomplished scientific advisory board, including:

Paola Arlotta, PhD, Golub Family Professor and Chair of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University 

Richard Axel, MD, Nobel Laureate; Co-director, Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Columbia University; University Professor, Columbia University; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute 

Ed Boyden, PhD, Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT; MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute 

Ali Brivanlou, PhD, Robert & Harriet Heilbrunn Professor, Head of Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, and Synthetic Embryology, The Rockefeller University; Co-founder, Rumi Scientific Inc. 

Navdeep Chandel, PhD, David W. Cugell Professor of Medicine & Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University 

Moses Chao, PhD, Professor of Cell Biology, Physiology & Neuroscience, and Psychiatry, NYU Langone School of Medicine 

Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development and Medical, Pfizer, Inc. 

Fred “Rusty” Gage, PhD, President and Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Disease, Laboratory of Genetics, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies 

Michael E. Greenberg, PhD, Nathan Marsh Pusey Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University 

Richard Isaacson, MD, Director, Center for Brain Health; Director, Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic, Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine; Adjunct Associate Professor of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medicine 

Dean Kamen, Founder, FIRST; President, DEKA Research & Development Corporation 

Sergiu Pasca, MD, Kenneth T. Norris, Jr. Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Bonnie Uytengsu and Family Director of the Stanford Brain Organogenesis Program, Stanford University 

Gregory A. Petsko, PhD, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital; Tauber Professor Biochemistry and Chemistry, Emeritus, Brandeis University; Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University 

James Rothman, PhD, Nobel Laureate; Sterling Professor of Cell Biology; Chair, Cell Biology; Professor of Chemistry; Director, Nanobiology Institute, Yale University 

Bernardo Sabatini, MD, PhD, Alice and Rodman W. Moorhead III Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute 

Scott A. Small, MD, Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center; Boris and Rose Katz Professor of Neurology, The Taub Institute, The Sergievsky Center; Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, Radiology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center 

Beth Stevens, PhD, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Institute Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Lavine Family Research Chair, F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston Children’s Hospital 

Bruce Stillman, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory 

Richard Tsien, PhD, Director, Neuroscience Institute; Chair and Druckenmiller Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, NYU Langone Medical Center 

Stacie Weninger, PhD, President, FBRI 

George Yancopoulos, MD, PhD, President and Chief Scientific Officer, Regeneron 

Michael Young, PhD, Nobel Laureate; Vice President for Academic Affairs, Richard and Jeanne Fisher Professor, Head of Laboratory of Genetics, The Rockefeller University 

Feng Zhang, PhD, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Core Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Investigator, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT; James and Patricia Poitras Professor in Neuroscience, MIT; Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biological Engineering, MIT

About The Pershing Square Foundation: 

The Pershing Square Foundation (PSF) is a family foundation established in 2006 to support exceptional leaders and innovative organizations that tackle important social issues and deliver scalable and sustainable global impact. PSF has committed more than $700 million in grants and social investments in target areas including health and medicine, education, economic development and social innovation. Bill Ackman and Neri Oxman are co-trustees of the Foundation. For more information, visit:



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