Fall 2021

Bright minds

See inside the University of Minnesota’s new Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain


Creative connection
MIDB is home to the U’s Institute on Community Integration, which works to ensure that people of all abilities are valued in their communities throughout their lives. The space includes a recording studio, where faculty, staff, and community members can create videos to share online and with the community.


Cultivating community
The Blythe Brenden-Mann Foundation Community Center embodies the MIDB’s mission to create communities that are welcoming for all. The space includes a multipurpose room for community events and educational seminars, and proudly features artwork from Minnesota artists with disabilities.


Art is healing
The visual theme of the MIDB, developed with guidance from patients and families, emphasizes warm textures and natural colors, drawing on the building’s proximity to the Mississippi River.


Targeted treatment
The MIDB’s comprehensive clinic, staffed by M Health Fairview care teams, includes a specialized clinic for newborns and toddlers who have experienced significant stress, an autism spectrum disorders and neurodevelopment subspecialty clinic, care for kids diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome disorders, and child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology services. There’s even a room for play therapy.


Innovative research
Labs inside the MIDB include state-of-the-art technology that allow researchers to observe and engage with children of all ages—from newborns to teens—and explore novel treatment options, like noninvasive brain stimulation to treat stroke-induced cerebral palsy and other conditions.


A place for play
Any building centered on the health and happiness of children wouldn’t be complete without a playground. Just behind the MIDB’s lobby is a backyard and play structure—a space for kids to be kids. There’s also a sport court, walking paths lined with indigenous plants, and a gazebo for quiet reflection on the property.


Seeing inside the brain
In the Marvin E. Goldberg, M.D., Imaging Suite, the U’s world-renowned brain imaging researchers can view the inner workings of kids’ brains to better understand how they develop.


Warm welcome
The MIDB is designed to be a serene space for young people and their families. The building’s lobby and nearby Bernstein/Davis Family Reception Area are full of colorful furniture and cozy alcoves, backed by large windows that provide ample natural light and views of nature.

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.

To learn how your gift can make a difference at the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain, contact Jonna Schnettler at 612-624-5588 or jschnett@umn.edu, or make a gift today.

“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.