neurons as seen under a microscope

Carol and Gene Ludwig Family Foundation Establishes Neurodegeneration Research Center at Columbia

The Carol and Gene Ludwig Center for Research on Neurodegeneration Will Bring Novel Approaches to Alzheimer’s and Other Neurodegenerative Disease Research

A transformational gift from the Carol and Gene Ludwig Family Foundation will support the launch of a neurodegenerative disease research center at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. The foundation’s gift will establish The Carol and Gene Ludwig Center for Research on Neurodegeneration to support research on the underlying biological and genetic mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders and to discover innovative and more effective, targeted treatments for these diseases. The gift will help create state-of-the-art laboratories for the center and Ludwig Investigators in a new research building at VP&S. The gift also will help Columbia recruit and retain top scientists working on neurodegeneration and will fund an annual symposium for the exchange and stimulation of ideas and results among the most prominent researchers in the field.

“I have every confidence that advances in neuroscience and precision medicine produced by this generous gift will lead to breakthroughs in the care we are able to provide our patients,” says Katrina Armstrong, MD, dean of the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences for Columbia University. “The Carol and Gene Ludwig Family Foundation is an exceptional partner, and we are grateful for the faith they have placed in our plans for the future.”

“Our goal is to bring new perspectives and novel approaches to neurodegenerative disease research,” says Carol Ludwig, MD, co-founder and president of the Carol and Gene Ludwig Family Foundation. “The exceptional work of Dr. Mayeux and his colleagues in the Department of Neurology and the breadth of expertise at Columbia make it a superb place to promote research and to foster talent in this area. A cornerstone of the center will be pilot awards designed to advance and accelerate innovative new research projects, with seed funding for especially promising areas of investigation.”

“The Ludwig family’s generosity is transformational,” says Richard Mayeux, MD, chair of Columbia’s Department of Neurology. “The Ludwig Center and its facilities will be critical to our goal of understanding basic disease mechanisms and identifying putative therapeutic targets, with Ludwig Investigators becoming synonymous with the very best in neurodegenerative research. All of us know someone who has been affected by Alzheimer’s disease or a similar diagnosis. The generosity of the Ludwigs helps us kindle hope for our patients and their families.”

The gift will help support construction of a new research building, which will house the Ludwig Center. The new building, a wet-lab research facility, will be located on the corner of 167th Street and Audubon Avenue. Currently in the design phase, the building will be home to Ludwig Center faculty and dozens of other researchers working collaboratively in areas of basic and translational research and precision medicine, using such tools as genomics, stem cells, animal models, and computational biology to inform advances in patient care. 

Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and its partner health sciences schools across Columbia’s medical campus make up the largest biomedical research enterprise in New York City, and the Department of Neurology consistently ranks in the top three in NIH funding nationally.


About Columbia’s Department of Neurology

For more than a century, Columbia’s Department of Neurology has been a pillar of academic and clinical excellence, committed to developing the finest scholars and physicians in the field of neurology. Faculty in the department’s 12 divisions treat every variety of neurological illness, and a robust research enterprise continues to pioneer discovery and treatment.

About the Carol and Gene Ludwig Family Foundation

The Carol and Gene Ludwig Family Foundation is a private foundation that makes charitable investments in support of medical research, education, and community engagement. Established in 2002, the foundation invests in organizations that accelerate medical and scientific discovery, enable access to educational and economic opportunity for young people, and enrich and strengthen the communities where the foundation’s founders live and work. Carol Ludwig is an alumna of Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and currently serves on the Board of Advisors. She is a neurologist and neuropathologist and was a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service. She worked as a researcher and clinic director at the National Institutes of Health and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology following which she joined the Department of Neurology at the George Washington University Medical Center as a faculty member. Gene Ludwig is an expert on banking, regulation, risk management, and fiscal policy. He is Managing Partner of Canapi Ventures, CEO of Ludwig Advisors, and Chair of the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity (LISEP). He was the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency from 1993 to 1998, serving as the Clinton Administration’s point person on the policy response to the credit crunch of the early 1990s.

Top image: Distribution of two Alzheimer's-related proteins inside the brain's microglial cells. Courtesy of Peter St. George-Hyslop.