Partner with us to understand the brain. 

By making a charitable contribution to the Department of Neuroscience, you are playing a critical role in the continuum of scientific and medical advances. Private support makes the path-breaking work of scientific discovery possible. Thank you for your consideration of using your philanthropy to support our critical missions of research discovery and education.

Private support allows us to innovate and to make major advances in understanding the brain.  This work is essential to understand the cause of human neurological diseases and mental illnesses and to develop new therapeutics and devices for our community. Gifts can be directed to the Department of Neuroscience in the form of cash, securities, corporate matching gifts, real estate and personal property. Gifts of all kinds are tax deductible and may be designated for immediate use or as a long-term investment through an endowment. 

The Critical Importance of Basic Research

The inner workings of the brain have captivated scientists, philosophers, artists and physicians for centuries—yet some of the most fundamental questions about its functions remain unanswered: what is the function of sleep? how does memory work? how does the brain develop and learn? Answering these questions will not only satisfy human curiosity, but form the basic knowledge necessary to address related disorders such as insomnia, dementia and mental illness.

One reason there are no cures for these and numerous other conditions is that researchers are still uncovering what lies beneath them at the root of neurological functioning. The Department of Neuroscience is leading the way in uncovering these basic functions and mechanisms of the brain.

“Basic research provides the essential pipeline of discoveries that go into translation, and we have a clinical enterprise at WashU deeply embedded in that basic science,” says Linda Richards, PhD, the Edison Professor of Neuroscience and the head of the department. “I am deeply grateful for the support of donors who value this necessary work.”

The foundational insights made by members the department serve as guides to focus endeavors looking to solve some of medicine’s biggest problems, such as neurodegenerative diseases, spinal cord injuries and sensory impairments. Our areas of expertise include:

  • Anatomy
  • Behavior
  • Brain development
  • Brain imaging
  • Brain cell signaling and biology
  • Cognition
  • Control of movement
  • Learning and memory
  • Neural circuitry
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neural injury and repair
  • Sensory processing
  • Sleep

Donors’ contributions are especially impactful at this time as the department prepares to move into a new, state-of-the art facility devoted to neuroscience research. This transition offers laboratories a springboard to advance their research programs in new ways and to take advantage of the unprecedented opportunities for collaboration engineered into the design of the building. Your donation to the department could help direct how these new possibilities take shape in the coming years.

Types of Gifts

Outright gifts – Private gifts provide valuable resources that allow for the delivery of unique opportunities throughout the Department in real-time throughout the year. This type of support allows us the flexibility to follow truly promising new discoveries, cover project shortfalls when other funding has been reduced or eliminated and devote more time and focus directly to research. 

An outright gift designated to the Department of Neuroscience can be made online or by sending a check made out to Washington University with Department of Neuroscience denoted in the memo line to:

Washington University in St. Louis
c/o Emily Williams
7425 Forsyth Blvd.
Campus Box 1082
St. Louis, MO 63105

Planned gifts – A planned gift provides an opportunity for you to integrate a charitable gift into your overall financial, tax and estate plan. Planned gifts can provide expendable support when disbursed or they can be used to establish an endowed fund that will live in perpetuity with the institution. Planned Giving provides strategies that enable you to support the Department of Neuroscience through:

  • Wills & trusts
  • Stocks/securities
  • Real estate
  • Charitable gift annuities/trusts
  • Retirement plan assets
  • Beneficiary designations

If you would like to designate the Department of Neuroscience as a beneficiary of a portion or all of your estate, the My Planned Gift Form provides us the information we need to properly document your wishes.

Memorial gifts – We are honored when families request that memorial donations be directed to the Department of Neuroscience. Please contact Emily Williams and she will provide the information you need to make sure these incredibly meaningful gifts are designated appropriately.

If you would like more information about private support, please contact Emily Williams at or 314-935-2660.