American Heart Association / Allen Initiative in Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment

The AHA-Allen Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment Initiative awardees are


Rusty Gage, PhD

Salk Institute

La Jolla, Calif.

Mukesh Jain, MD

University Hospitals

Cleveland Ohio

Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD

Stanford University

Stanford, Calif



As medical and scientific advancements have extended life expectancies, healthy aging is an urgent frontier for research. The burden of age-related cognitive impairment is growing exponentially – whether from Alzheimer’s Disease, vascular dysfunction, the combination of these, or other causes. These debilitating diseases are costly, both to our health care system in terms of long-term care facilities, and to individuals and their families in terms of personal and emotional toll.

The American Heart Association and the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group (Frontiers Group) have come together to bridge a historical divide in the scientific and medical community. The current rigid distinction placed between cerebrovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases, once considered mutually exclusive conditions, may make it more difficult to understand and mitigate these disorders.

The Association and the Frontiers Group, together with additional contributors, including the Oskar Fischer Projectand Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Foundation, have committed over $43 million to disrupt the incremental trajectory of brain health science and open new frontiers of discovery that will improve and lengthen lives through the American Heart Association / Allen Initiative in Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment. This Initiative will identify and fund highly-promising teams of bioscience investigators pursuing creative, transformative ideas with the potential to move brain health and cognitive impairment science forward. The initiative has granted 3 competitive basic science research awards to study brain health over eight years.

Brain Health

The importance of brain health will continue to grow as the world’s population ages