Mortimer Zuckerman, chairman of Boston Properties Inc., pledged $200 million to Columbia University to endow a Mind Brain Behavior Institute for neuroscience research.
The gift will help support 65 faculty members, and eventually 1,000 scientists and staff, the university in New York said today in a statement on its website. The institute will be based at the Jerome L. Greene Science Center under construction at Columbia’s new Manhattanville campus.
Zuckerman, 75, co-founded Boston Properties in 1970, and the company now owns skyscrapers including Boston’s Prudential Tower and New York’s General Motors Building. Zuckerman also owns media companies including U.S. News & World Report and the New York Daily News. A native of Montreal, he attended McGill University, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.
“At its root, this is an investment in accomplished scholars whose collective mission is both greater understanding of the human condition and the discovery of new cures for human suffering,” Zuckerman said in the statement. “I can hardly think of anything more important than that.”
Columbia’s Mind Brian Behavior Institute is designed to help cure diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and unravel the connections between the brain’s biology and human behavior. It is intended to link researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and school of engineering with professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
The institute is home to two Nobel Prize winners, Richard Axel and Eric Kandel, who, with Thomas Jessell, will serve as co-directors.