See inside the University of Minnesota’s new Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain
Where does a big idea begin?
Look no further than any one of the brain’s trillions of synapses, the infinitesimal spaces where neurons connect to exchange information.
One connection can ripple outward to thousands of neighboring neurons, quickly cascading across the brain and culminating in thoughts, emotions, and imagination.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the University of Minnesota’s new Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB) finds inspiration from the inner workings of its namesake organ. Much like the brain itself, the MIDB is designed to produce big ideas through the power of connection; in this case, the connection of U of M researchers, M Health Fairview care providers, and community members working side by side to better understand how young brains develop.
Nestled among the trees along the Mississippi River’s east bank, the MIDB—which opened its doors to the public November 1 and is named in honor of a $35 million commitment from Minnesota Masonic Charities—is a first-of-its-kind institute that encourages inspired collaboration to understand, prevent, and treat neurodevelopmental disorders in early childhood and adolescence.
The goal is to create a one-stop care destination where bright minds from diverse disciplines come together to accelerate discovery and help young brains flourish, now and throughout life.
“All the ingredients to do something big are right here, right now, and we’re excited to push forward and make it happen,” says Damien Fair, Ph.D., P.A.-C., Redleaf Endowed Director of the MIDB and a professor in the Medical School and College of Education and Human Development.
ILLUSTRATION BY ARUNAS KACINSKAS