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The Rockefeller Family and the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute

U.S. Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller’s interest in neuroscience developed out of his experiences as he witnessed the slow but irreversible deterioration of his mother, Blanchette Ferry Rockefeller, who died of Alzheimer’s disease in 1992. Mrs. Rockefeller, an active parent and grandparent and energetic patron of the arts in New York City, had access to the most advanced medical care available in her lifetime, but her family and physicians were unable to stop the progression of the disease.

In 1999, Senator Rockefeller established the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute at West Virginia University in her honor. He recruited members of his family to support both its research programs and the construction of a modern scientific facility on the University campus.

By 2001, the family had committed $15 million to the project. The leadership gift from Senator Rockefeller and his wife Sharon, his sisters Sandra Ferry, Hope Aldrich, and Alida Messinger, and his uncles Laurance Rockefeller and David Rockefeller, Sr., inspired many others to donate to the Institute over the following years.

Senator Rockefeller has remained closely involved with the Institute since its founding, and expressed strong support for its expansion of mission and renaming in 2017.

Then Governor John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV greets his mother, Blanchette Rockefeller at the Asia Society 25th Anniversery Dinner, October 1981. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

The Woven Endobridge device (WEB) is a groundbreaking advance in the development of technology for the treatment of ruptured and unruptured brain aneurysms. The WVU Stroke Center was among the first in the country to use this device in clinical trials, now available to the rest of the U.S. Ansaar Rai, MD, and SoHyun Boo, MD, explain how the WEB device is making the delicate treatment of aneurysms less risky.

Research drives patient care at any large academic medical center. As stroke treatment has dramatically evolved in the past decade, WVU Medicine’s neurointerventionists have emerged as national leaders in their relatively new field. Here, Ansaar Rai, MD, WVU Medicine Radiology vice chair of clinical operations, discusses the past and present of stroke treatment.

When Hanna Reger was diagnosed with a rare heart condition, two days later the 17-year-old had a stroke.
 
Thanks to the quick action of the WVU Stroke Center, Hanna made an impressive comeback.

WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute