Expand Research, Education, and Engagement Opportunities

The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences facilitates innovative science, outstanding education, and outreach programs led by world-class faculty from multiple disciplines. The generosity of external donors helps DIBS achieve its mission to promote interdisciplinary brain science and translate discoveries into solutions for health and society. Help us make it possible for more faculty and students to conduct innovative research and engage with the community to solve real-world problems such as Alzheimer’s disease.

For giving opportunities, please contact Morgan Pope, Director of Interdisciplinary Development: morgan.pope@duke.edu


Volunteer Leadership Opportunities

There are many ways to support our mission, such as through the DIBS External Advisory Board (EAB), whose members provide guidance and vital funding support for DIBS programs.

Currently, the EAB includes 16 members from across fields including medicine, science and technology, and business, and two recent Duke undergrads.

Goals for new members:

  • Passionate about STEM education, workforce development, and inspiring the next generation of neuroscientists, psychiatrists, surgeons, engineers, policy makers and poets.
  • Contribute to the board's diversity.
  • Willing to contribute intellectually and philanthropically.
  • Exemplify and support a range of career trajectories for our students, including industry, nonprofits, government service.

DIBS Activities Made Possible by Financial Gifts

We are grateful for the generous support received that have allowed DIBS to implement:

  • An additional, sixth Research Incubator Award. The gift of $100,000 came from the DIBS External Advisory Board .
  • The annual Autism Awareness Day event, co-sponsored with the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development. The year’s event featured the Honourable Mike Lake, member of the Canadian Parliament, and his son, Jaden, who is on the autism spectrum. Jaden joined his father for the moving presentation, “Expect More: An Autism Adventure.”
  • Innovative graduate student research. The three-year Wrenn Graduate Fellowship in Alzheimer’s Disease Research is made possible through the generosity of the Wrenn Trust, named for Duke alumna Karen L. Wrenn, who died of Alzheimer’s Disease. The second fellowship was awarded in 2019 to Will Huffman, a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering in the Pratt School of Engineering. He plans to develop strategies to prevent cognitive decline following surgery, a condition for which Alzheimer’s patients are particularly at risk, and which can accelerate the progression of the disease. DIBS continues to support Yixin Ma, the inaugural Wrenn Graduate Fellow in Alzheimer’s Disease Research. Ma, who received the award in 2017, has been studying innovative ultrahigh-resolution diffusion MRI methods to detect and characterize early microstructural brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Graduate student travel, also through the Wrenn Trust, allowing several students to travel to the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting and other research symposia.
  • Many other interactive activities for students, faculty, and the community. Many gifts to the DIBS General Fund have allowed DIBS to continue to Connect Minds, Advance Neuroscience, and Improve Lives.

Mike Lake with his son, Jaden, share a special moment before the 2019 Autism Awareness event.


Will Huffman, Wrenn Graduate Fellowship in Alzheimer’s Disease Research recipient.

Other Gifts

The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences is dedicated to advancing research on neurological diseases and disorders. As such, we are often asked how people can provide anatomical gifts for research. While we are unable to accept such generous donations, people interested in donating their or a loved one’s brain for research may contact the following groups. Thank you for considering this kind gesture.

Duke Neuropsychiatric Brain Bank

Email Dianne Cruz, who oversees the Duke Neuropsychiatric Brain Bank at the Duke School of Medicine, and may be able to help coordinate donations when/if possible.

Duke University School of Medicine Anatomical Gifts Program

The Duke University School of Medicine’s Anatomical Gift’s Program provides an opportunity to use the entirety of a donor’s physical remains to shape the future careers of the students privileged to benefit from the gift. The faculty who oversee the anatomical dissection take care to ensure that students honor the dignity and humanity of the donor and their loved ones, as do the students we admit, educate, and entrust with such precious anatomical gifts.

Brain Donor Project

The Brain Donor Project is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that aims to increase the supply of human post-mortem brains donated for scientific research, and receives expert guidance from researchers affiliated with the National Institutes of Health (NIH).