Dana Foundation

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The Dana Foundation (Charles A. Dana Foundation) is a private philanthropic organization based in New York committed to advancing brain research and to educating the public in a responsible manner about research’s potential: (1) to develop a better understanding of the brain and its functions; (2) to speed the discovery of treatments for brain disorders; and (3) to combat the stigma of brain disorders through education.


The foundation was founded in 1950 by Charles A. Dana, a legislator and businessman from New York State, and CEO of the Dana Corporation. He presided over the organization until 1960, but continued to participate until his death in 1975.

Edward F. Rover is the current chairman of the foundation.[1] He served as vice-chairman of the Board of Directors of the foundation before being elected president in 2000 and then chairman in 2009. Rover was a senior partner at White & Case, L.L.P. in New York City until December 31, 2003. Rover succeeded William Safire, who became Dana’s chairman following David Mahoney’s death in 2000.[2]

The Dana Alliances[edit]

The Dana Foundation supports the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain, nonprofit organizations of leading neuroscientists committed to advancing public awareness about the progress and promise of brain research.[3] The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives was officially launched in 1993, and has more than 340 members, including 10 Nobel laureates. The European Dana Alliance for the Brain was established in 1997, and has 260 members, including five Nobel laureates, from 31 countries.

Research Grant Programs[edit]

The Dana Foundation’s current area of research emphasis is in neuroscience, focusing on neuroimaging and clinical neuroscience research.[4]

David Mahoney Neuroimaging grants support research on imaging innovations that help reveal how the human brain functions normally, how disorders and injuries alter these functions, and how various therapies affect these conditions.

The Clinical Neuroscience Research grants support researchers testing promising therapies that move from animal models to a small number of human patients with devastating, currently untreatable brain diseases (first-in-man studies). Also supported are studies to develop ethical guidelines in brain research.

Public Education[edit]

The Foundation has a broad range of outreach initiatives for the general public and for targeted audiences.

Event-based programs[edit]

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.[5] It will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2015. Partner organizations host creative and innovative activities in their communities to educate kids and adults about the brain. In 2014, there were more than 860 events held in 55 countries.

Staying Sharp focuses on how the brain changes as we age: healthy aging, memory loss, brain diseases and disorders.[6] Panel discussions are held around the country, featuring experts in the field. Related videos and booklets are available on dana.org.

The Dana Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) co-host Neuroscience and Society, a free public event series in Washington, DC.[7] Past topics include sleep, arts and the brain, and the adolescent brain. Videos of the events can be viewed on dana.org.

Neuroscience and the Law workshops provide state and federal judges with a better understanding of the role neuroscience may play in making legal determinations in the courts from the admissibility of neuroimaging evidence to decisions about criminal culpability.

Capitol Hill Briefings are designed to educate Members of Congress and their staff about the latest advances in brain research.

Free resources[edit]

The Dana Foundation website, dana.org, offers vetted information by scientists about the brain.[8] There are free publications and videos, and dedicated sections for seniors, kids, educators and researchers, and patients and caregivers.

Web-based publications include news articles; primers; briefing papers; scientist Q&As; Reports on Progress, “hard-science” articles published quarterly and written by an experts in the field; and Cerebrum, a long-form essay on cutting-edge topics published monthly and also written by an expert. A series of It’s Mindboggling publications are targeted to students at a range of reading levels; the series Staying Sharp targets older adults. Brain in the News, a monthly print publication, is a compendium of articles about the brain, with a column by science advisor Guy McKhann, Ph.D.[9]

In 2014, the Dana Press published two books, Cerebrum: Emerging Ideas in Brain Science • 2013[10] and You’ve Got Some Explaining to Do: Advice for Neuroscientists Writing for Lay Readers.[11] Cerebrum is a paper-bound anthology of the previous year’s articles and book reviews, and is available on Amazon. You’ve Got Some Explaining to Do is a compact book of best practices for scientists writing for non-scientific audiences. It was written by Dana Press Editor-in-Chief Emerita Jane Nevins and is available for purchase on Amazon, or as a free PDF on dana.org.

External links[edit]