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Neuroscience Center to Launch with Largest Gift in Columbia’s History

Columbia University has announced plans to establish the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, a new research and teaching facility that will serve as the intellectual home for Columbia's expanding initiative in Mind, Brain and Behavior. The center is made possible by a gift from Dawn M. Greene and the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, to honor her late husband, Jerome L. Greene, CC’26, Columbia Law School ’28. Mr. Greene was a prominent New York lawyer, real estate investor and philanthropist. Currently valued at more than $200 million, the gift is the largest ever received by Columbia University. It is also the largest private gift received by any U.S. university for the creation of a single facility. The center will be led by Thomas Jessell, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and Nobel laureates Richard Axel, M.D., University Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and Eric Kandel, M.D., University Professor of Physiology & Cellular Biophysics, Psychiatry, and Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics.

The center will include labs in which Columbia scientists will explore the causal relationship among gene function, brain wiring and behavior. This research will search for the causes of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and motor neuron diseases, among others. This research also will assist in decoding disorders of mood and motivation, cognition and behavior, such as autism, dementia and schizophrenia. The center will establish an educational outreach facility and clinical programs with a focus on childhood developmental disorders and diseases of the aging brain.

“I know that Jerry would be as excited as the Foundation and I are to be making this gift. He believed in education, especially a Columbia education, and he believed in New York and its future,” says Dawn Greene, president and CEO of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation. “Columbia's plans for development north of the Morningside campus reflect Jerry’s devotion to continually improving our city and to expanding educational and research opportunities through the institutions he cared most about. The creation of a building for the Mind, Brain and Behavior Initiative struck me as the perfect coming together of all his interests. I am thrilled that we are able to do this.”

Subject to completion of the appropriate public processes, the university envisions the center being located in Manhattanville in West Harlem, near both the Morningside Heights and medical center campuses.