GUMC Announces the George Bergeron Endowed Professorship in Neuroscience

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Karen Teber

WASHINGTON — Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) announces the establishment of the George Bergeron Endowed Professorship in Neuroscience. The $1.25 million gift will support an exceptional scientist and launch the Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery.

The gift, in George Bergeron’s memory, was made by his son and daughter-in-law Doug and Sandra Bergeron of Atherton, California. The Bergerons wish to support GUMC’s efforts in cutting-edge biomedical research in the neurosciences and celebrate George Bergeron, who fought multiple sclerosis for over 30 years.

As the former chair of the Windsor-Essex Multiple Sclerosis Society in Windsor, Ontario, George Bergeron was a force in terms of fundraising, bringing focus to the illness, and mentoring newly diagnosed MS patients, according to his son Doug Bergeron. He was often “the ‘go-to guy’ for newly-diagnosed patients; helping them remodel their daily lives in the healthiest ways possible.”

George Bergeron “was a real inspiration to a lot of people, and we’re always looking for ways to honor his legacy, “ added Doug Bergeron. “MS is a neurological disease and we’re committed to doing what we can to not only further all types of research around it but also to make life incrementally better for those afflicted with it.

“This gift creates a solid foundation to develop a center where neurological discoveries can be made and shape the manner in which medicine is taught and clinical care is delivered,” said Howard J. Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health sciences at GUMC and executive dean of its School of Medicine. “As a result of the nation’s aging population, we expect several neurological disorders such as stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to grow and lead to burgeoning health problems, surpassing heart disease and cancer in the very near future.”

Georgetown University’s Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery will bring together researchers across disciplines to study recovery in adults through the application of new methods, knowledge, and practices in many fields. This unique interdisciplinary approach will harness Georgetown’s strengths in the sciences and humanities, including linguistics, foreign languages, psychology and philosophy, combining our research and clinical efforts to combat neurological diseases and disorders.

“We are grateful to be the recipient of this extraordinary philanthropy that will exist in perpetuity in the name of George Bergeron,” Federoff continued. “It will provide critical support to recruit and retain faculty who can lead us to groundbreaking and transformative efforts as we strive to slow the progression and eventually cure neurological disorders that impact millions of families like the Bergerons.”

Previously, the Bergerons have committed $2 million to the MS Society of Canada, a charitable organization that funds research and services for those living with the disease. “As chair of the MS Society’s Windsor-Essex Chapter, George exemplified leadership and happiness despite the challenges MS can bring,” said Yves Savoie, president and CEO of the MS Society of Canada. “We are pleased that this gift has been established in his honor.”

Today’s gift on behalf George Bergeron is dedicated to advancing research in neurologic diseases, a strategic priority for Georgetown University Medical Center. GUMC is committed to advancing scientific understanding and human health through biomedical research, as particularly in the areas of neuromedicine and cancer as part of the university’s $1.5 billion fundraising campaign, For Generations to Come.

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical Translation and Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. In fiscal year 2010-11, GUMC accounted for 85 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.