WSU-Premier Health Neuroscience Institute, Timothy C. Cope, Ph.D., Director

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the PHP financial commitment to this project?

The plan to establish the institute was developed jointly by Miami Valley Hospital and WSU (with input from community physicians) and has been formally approved by university and hospital leadership. Together, the partners have pledged substantial resources over the first five years to create the institute, construct or upgrade facilities, purchase new laboratory equipment and hire faculty and staff. PHP will provide $4.35 million over five years for the creation of a Department of Neurology at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine.

Where will the Neuroscience Institute be located?

The research component of the institute will be located on the WSU campus, and it will also have facilities dedicated to patient care and clinical research within Miami Valley Hospital. In addition, the partners will support the creation of a new clinical Department of Neurology within the Boonshoft School of Medicine and the hiring of new faculty physicians, all of whom will practice, teach and conduct research in both locations.

When will the new chair and faculty for the Department of Neurology be on board?

Following a nationwide search, the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine has named Kenneth J. Gaines, M.D., M.B.A., chair of its new Department of Neurology, effective May 1, 2012. He will also serve as professor of neurology in the Boonshoft School of Medicine and as director of special projects: clinical neuroscience development at Premier Health Partners.

When will the institute be up and running?

The research arm of the institute is largely operational now, with strong leadership, a broad faculty base at WSU and a highly engaged advisory board. The next step is to establish the clinical research component of the institute, to complement the existing basic neuroscience research strengths and resources. The process for hiring these physician-scientists to the institute is underway.

Who will be the director of the institute?

Timothy Cope, Ph.D., chair of the WSU Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology & Physiology, will lead the institute, in conjunction with an advisory board comprised of senior WSU and PHP physicians and management staff.

What type of research will be done here?

A primary focus of the research will be nervous system disorders that affect movement. Many common disorders impact the patient's ability to control movement, ranging from the ability to walk to the control of fine hand movements. These disorders include stroke; neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease); multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular disorders and traumatic injury; and nervous system complications caused by diabetes, chemotherapy or peripheral nerve injury. Taking a highly interdisciplinary approach, our scientists will employ a range of experimental models to analyze molecular, cellular and systems-based questions that bear directly on these problems.

Is Wright State currently doing research in movement disorders?

Yes. In October 2007, the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine was awarded a prestigious $4.8 million Program Project Grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The grant furthers the research of five WSU scientists into why full recovery doesn't always occur after damaged nerves are regenerated. Five collaborative projects, each led by a Wright State NIH-funded investigator, are working together to better understand the recovery - or lack of it - from nerve trauma. The goal of the project is to understand how injury, regeneration and alterations in neural activity affect synaptic and network function and to explore the mechanisms that either promote or impede recovery.

How will the institute affect patient care?

This new institute will affect patient care in three ways. It will increase the number of clinical neurologists practicing in the Dayton region; it will speed the transfer of new treatments and technologies from the research bench to the bedside; and it will provide new opportunities for clinical trials so that patients will have access to the newest, potentially life-saving, treatments.

Why did Miami Valley Hospital decide to link up with WSU on this project?

This institute was a natural fit. Wright State and Premier Health Partners have a longstanding relationship that has generated many public/private partnerships in education and healthcare - ranging from the Level 1 Trauma Center at Miami Valley Hospital to the Department of Geriatrics at Wright State. In addition, the Boonshoft School of Medicine has an exceptionally talented cadre of NIH-funded neuroscientists on the WSU campus, including the team awarded a prestigious Program Project Grant of nearly $5 million by NINDS. The medical school also possesses excellent core resources and equipment for fundamental laboratory research, which will provide a strong foundation for institute activities even before new facilities and equipment are in place.

Why another neuroscience institute?

The WSU-PHP Neuroscience Institute is unique in the region because it provides a powerful mechanism to fully integrate the biomedical research expertise of an academic institution with the clinical resources of a leading hospital system. Neuroscience is an exceptionally broad field, with literally hundreds of centers and institutes around the globe exploring highly complex problems. The WSU-PHP Neuroscience Institute will join this endeavor with a critical focus on disorders that affect movement, and will bring strong interdisciplinary teams together from multiple departments to speed the transfer of research discoveries from bench to bedside and improve the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders.

How many employees will the institute have? What will be the economic impact?

The creation of the institute will expand this economic impact by adding 95 research and staffing positions to the Dayton region. Each new faculty member will establish a clinical practice with numerous administrative and clinical employees, while each clinician-scientist will create research support positions for technicians. The project will also support an increase in the number of graduate assistants and trainees and enhance our ability to retain outstanding researchers and their teams.

Over time, the institute will also provide a distinct advantage when pursuing federal and private grants to fund neurological research, potentially resulting in millions of dollars flowing into the region. In addition, the institute will help to demonstrate the quality and long-term prospects of our research and health care institutions, which could do a great deal to help reverse the trend of recent job losses and make the whole region more attractive to new companies, residents and visitors.

Will there be a residency program?

The five-year strategic vision for the institute includes a neurology residency program to train high quality neurologists to serve the Dayton region.

Is Wright-Patterson Air Force Base involved in the partnership?

The WSU-PHP Neuroscience Institute will create an environment in which WPAFB and Air Force Research Laboratory programs will be welcome partners.

When will the institute start accepting patients?

The Neuroscience Institute will build on this community's excellent neurological services currently provided by MVH and PHP.