Updated March 28 at 4:32am

Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute lands $600K for brain research, lecture series


PROVIDENCE – The Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute at Rhode Island Hospital was awarded three philanthropic gifts totaling nearly $600,000 to improve brain science in the state of Rhode Island by supporting research and establishing a lecture series.

The gifts are the first major donations since 2010 when the Institute was founded with a $15 million gift from the Frederick Henry Prince 1932 Trust.

The Institute brings together brain science experts from Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, the Brown Institute for Brain Science, Butler Hospital, Bradley Hospital and the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“These gifts will significantly boost our research and teaching capacity in the areas of epilepsy, brain cancer, and traumatic brain injury,” Dr. G. Rees Cosgrove, chief of neurosurgery at Rhode Island and Miriam hospitals and the clinical director of the Institute, said in a statement. “They also encourage collaboration among our hospital partners and with Brown.”

Of the $600,000, the Institute received a gift of $250,000 from an anonymous donor. The gift is earmarked to support the Neurotrauma and Brain Barriers Research Laboratory in the department of emergency medicine at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School.

According to a release from Rhode Island Hospital, the $250,000 will improve the understanding of, and treatments for, traumatic brain injuries, especially those affecting members of the military.

The anonymous Florida donor is a member of the NPNI advisory council, a governor of Rhode Island Hospital, a member of the executive committee of the Rhode Island Foundation and sits on the Brown Advisory Council for Biology and Medicine.

A total gift of $224,000 was awarded from the founding family of the Institute, from their respective private organizations. Elizabeth J.M. Prince of Newport, Guillaume de Ramel of Newport, Diana Oehrli of Switzerland and Regis de Ramel of Delaware donated the boned $224,000 to purchase the NeuroPort system, a machine that will allow researchers to record and measure brain activity before, during and after epileptic seizures.

A research team comprised of neurologists, neurosurgeons and neuroscientists from Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital will lead the NeuroPort program.

Dr. Scott E. Wang, former chairman of the Department of Pathology at Newport Hospital, donated $125,000 to establish an annual lecture in brain and spine cancers at Rhode Island Hospital. The endowment gift for the Scott E. Wang, M.D. Lecture in Neuro-Oncology aims to bring leading experts to Providence to present the best clinical practices and cutting-edge research to the NPNI community and meet with neuroscience faculty, staff, medical students and residents.

“The NPNI has major momentum, and these gifts are testament to that growth,” Dr. Timothy J. Babineau, president and CEO of Lifespan and president of Rhode Island Hospital, said in a statement. “We have an opportunity to create a world-class neurosciences program here in Rhode Island, and are making good progress toward that goal.”


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