What We Do

We accelerate discoveries of the human brain by funding the nation’s most innovative neurological research.

Our Unique Approach

As the nation’s oldest brain research organization, we’ve seen the impact that undesignated giving can have. Our grants fund a broad scope of projects that help scientists explore a wide range of neurological disorders.

How It Works

We provide researchers with “seed money” to fund their boldest ideas, helping them make breakthroughs at the most critical stage of science.

  1. Donations Made

    Your generous donation is used to fund the most high-impact and promising brain research.
  2. Grant Nominations

    For each grant program, eligible U.S. institutions can nominate one faculty member to apply for a BRF research grant using their own proposal review process.
  3. Application Reviews

    Composed of top researchers from several institutions nationwide, the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) reviews all research grant applications.
  4. Grant Selection

    The SRC selects the top proposals for BRF to award research grants in the form of seed grants and our Scientific Innovations Awards for distinguished investigators.

Our Stories

Our mission is told through the voices of the BRF community. Explore their stories, memories, and hopes for the future.

  • #Alzheimers
  • #aneurysm
  • #brainresearch

The Vandermel Family’s Story

By supporting the BRF Julia, Justine, and Kelly are able to honor their father’s memory and also honor other family members and friends affected by neurological disorders, including Kelly’s mother.

  • #Alzheimers
  • #braincancer
  • #braintumors

Matt Rahn’s Story

True innovation doesn’t come from thinking linearly, innovation comes from very smart, passionate people thinking creatively. I tell my friends, ad nausea, that the BRF is going after innovative ideas.

  • #brain
  • #brainresearch

The Anderson Family’s Story

The opportunity to shed light on more than one brain disorder played a large part in our choosing the BRF. Everybody knows somebody who can benefit from future discoveries.

About Us

Brain Research Foundation was founded and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1953 by three neurologists: Dr. Frederic A. Gibbs, Dr. Ladislas J. Meduna, and Dr. Carl C. Pfeiffer, later growing under the leadership of dynamic businessmen William E. Fay, Jr. and Clinton E. Frank who each had a daughter with a brain illness. Then in 1964, BRF joined the University of Chicago to establish the Brain Research Institute, supporting neuroscientists and promising young investigators over the next 40 years in search of the keys to unlock the mysteries of the human brain.

Today, BRF nurtures the projects of hundreds of researchers across the nation with millions of dollars of funding each year, resulting in the type of innovative research that promises better treatments for neurological disorders and, ultimately, potential cures.