Request for new Iowa Center for Neurodegeneration at the University of Iowa approved by the state Board of Regents

The state Board of Regents Academic Affairs Committee approved the request from the University of Iowa for a new Iowa Center for Neurodegeneration at the regents meeting Wednesday. The center will work to study diseases such as Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Board+of+Regents+Office+member+Mark+Braun%2C+President+Michael+Richards%2C+and+President+Pro+Tem+Sherry+Bates+listen+to+a+speaker+during+the+state+of+Iowa+Board+of+Regents+meeting+in+Reiman+Ballroom+at+the+Alumni+Center+in+Ames%2C+Iowa%2C+on+Thursday%2C+Sept.+16%2C+2021.+

Grace Smith

Board of Regents Office member Mark Braun, President Michael Richards, and President Pro Tem Sherry Bates listen to a speaker during the state of Iowa Board of Regents meeting in Reiman Ballroom at the Alumni Center in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.

Kate Perez, News Reporter


The state Board of Regents Academic Affairs Committee approved the request for a new Iowa Center for Neurodegeneration in the Carver College of Medicine at the regents meeting Wednesday.

The center will be housed under the Iowa Neuroscience Institute and the Department of Neurology. It will partner closely with the Pappajohn Biomedical Institute, the Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging, and the Department of Radiology.

“[The center] is designed to study diseases such as Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases. These diseases affect millions across the country and our particular concern among the aging Iowa population,” said Lois Geist, associate provost for faculty.

The request outlines that the center will help to study these diseases, with the goal being to advance research, diagnostics, advocacy, and therapies to provide care for patients, Geist said.

“The center will take advantage of many strengths that already exist on campus by pulling them together into a more cohesive structure,” Geist said. “These strengths include the investigational and clinical expertise in the department of neurology, experts in the Department of Radiology, as well as the Iowa Institute for Biomedical Engineering.”

The full board will vote Thursday for the center’s approval.

The center will also be a way to recruit new faculty, as well as a way to improve the reputation of the UI.

“The center would promote transformational discovery as well as aid in highlighting [the UI] as a destination for research, education, and clinical care in neurodegenerative diseases across Iowa, the Midwest, and the nation,” the request reads.

The new center would also greatly enhance interdisciplinary work, focus investments in neuroscience, and enhance recruitment as well as the retention of diverse faculty, students, and staff.

There has been momentum for the center after the recent designation of UI Health Care as a Clinical Center of Excellence from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, Geist said.

The center also has momentum based on preexisting funds and National Institutes of Health grants, including a $15 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, she said.

“No new resources will be required and the center will capitalize on existing strengths, resources, and equipment,” Geist said.

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