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UNLV, Cleveland Clinic Form Biomedical Research Partnership

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Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and UNLV earn $11 million grant from National Institutes of Health to tackle Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
Campus News  |  Sep 4, 2015  |  By UNLV Media Relations
Media Contact: Tony Allen: 702-895-3102,
Cleveland Clinic building

(Aaron Mayes/UNLV Photo Services)

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and UNLV were recently awarded an $11.1 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to fund a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). 

The five-year award marks the first-ever COBRE grant in Southern Nevada and will fund resources and research related to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

“We are thrilled to be forming Southern Nevada’s first Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in partnership with UNLV,” said Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, Director of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and principal investigator for the grant. “To be awarded such a competitive federal grant to tackle the medical mysteries behind such horrific diseases as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is a testament to the caliber of the area’s medical capabilities and collaborative efforts with UNLV.”

Three research initiatives will be funded using the COBRE grant. The first, led by UNLV psychology professor Jefferson Kinney, will assess novel models of Alzheimer’s with particular attention to the role of the immune system. The second project, led by Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s Dr. Ryan R. Walsh, will use neuroimaging and neuropsychology to advance understanding of Parkinson’s, specifically cognitive impairment associated with the disease. The final project, led by Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s Dr. Sarah Banks, will use neuropsychology, combined with cutting-edge imaging techniques, to understand commonalities between Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 

A clinical core to provide patients for the projects will be led by Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s Dr. Kate Zhong. UNLV’s Supercomputing Center, directed by Joseph Lombardo, will provide database and statistical support.

This COBRE grant is slated for five years, with $2 million to be awarded each year. The grant demonstrates the strong partnership between the Center and UNLV, illustrating their mission to grow the scientific and medical landscape of Southern Nevada.

“This award cements UNLV's longtime research collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and advances our shared mission to find answers to complex health issues affecting so many in our community and around the world,” said Thomas Piechota, UNLV vice president for research and economic development.  

About Cleveland Clinic

Celebrating its 90th anniversary, Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. It was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. About 2,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic Health System includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, nine community hospitals and 15 Family Health Centers in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and opening in 2013, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2010, there were 4 million visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 155,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 100 countries. 

About Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health provides state-of-the-art care for cognitive disorders and for the family members of those who suffer from them. The physicians and staff at the Center for Brain Health continuously work towards the development of early diagnosis and the advancement of knowledge concerning mild cognitive disorders, which could one day delay or prevent their onset.  Patients receive expert diagnosis and treatment at the Center for Brain Health, which offers a multidisciplinary patient-focused approach to diagnosis and treatment, promoting collaboration across all care providers, offering patients a complete continuum of care and infusing education and research into all that it does. The facility, designed by Frank Gehry, houses clinical space, a diagnostic center, neuroimaging rooms, physician offices, laboratories devoted to clinical research and the Keep Memory Alive Event Center.