Princeton University has announced a $15 million gift from Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, to help build a center focused on the study of neurological disorders. Bezos, who majored in electrical engineering and computer science, graduated from Princeton in 1986, while his wife, who studied English, graduated in 1992.
Housed within a new complex at the university's Neuroscience Institute, which is scheduled to open in 2013, the Bezos Center for Neural Circuit Dynamics will enable researchers to look for patterns of activity that reveal, for example, how decisions are made or memories are recalled. The work will be led by institute co-director David Tank and involve collaboration with the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering, a consortium of scientists and engineers who use high-end computing in their research, as well as with experimentalists working to test theories of brain function.
"Professor Tank and his colleagues are on an epic quest to unravel one of humankind's greatest challenges — understanding the brain," said Bezos. "New tools and techniques are making possible discoveries that would have been unthinkable just two decades ago. We can hope for advancements that lead to understanding deep behaviors, more effective learning methods for young children, and cures for neurological diseases. MacKenzie and I are delighted and excited to support Princeton in their focus on fundamental neuroscience."