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NIH grant expands UIC brain bank into citywide effort to study epilepsy, brain cancer

Dr. Jeffrey Loeb, the John S. Garvin Chair in Neurology and head of neurology and rehabilitation. (Photo: Jenny Fontaine/University of Illinois Chicago)

A new virtual brain bank spanning five Chicago academic medical centers and led by University of Illinois Chicago will create a powerful new resource for clinical care and research on epilepsy, brain tumors and neurological disorders.

A $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will create a network of brain tissue research at UIC, Northwestern University, Lurie Children’s Hospital, Rush University and University of Chicago. The institutions will utilize a data platform developed at UIC called INTUITION that combines tissue data with clinical, functional, genetic and 3D imaging information to assist clinicians treating patients and help researchers better understand the mechanisms of brain disorders.

Expanding the INTUITION platform and standardizing brain tissue collection and analysis across the five medical centers will unlock even more opportunities for discovery, said Dr. Jeffrey Loeb, the John S. Garvin Endowed Chair in Neurology at UIC, professor and head of neurology and rehabilitation in the College of Medicine and lead investigator on the project.

“The goal is to turn big data into new therapeutics and biomarkers,” said Loeb, who is also co-director of the biomedical informatics core at the Center for Clinical and Translational Science. “The INTUITION platform is really a way that we can disseminate what we’ve done here at UIC to a larger population of researchers across the city of Chicago.”